Completion of $1.2 billion bio-defense lab celebrated

One-of-a-kind facility to advance testing and vaccines


State News

May 24, 2023 - 4:08 PM

Charles Lewis and Lisa Hensley, researchers at the $1.25 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, said NBAF opened a new door to research on deadly diseases capable of jumping from animals to humans and causes substantial damage to the agriculture industry as well as national economy. Photo by KANSAS REFLECTOR/TIM CARPENTER

MANHATTAN — National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility researcher Lisa Hensley’s career took her from laboratory to laboratory and country to country to study the alphabet soup of ghastly pathogens such as SARs, mpox, MERs and Marburg.

But she said an Ebola outbreak in the West Africa country of Liberia brought home what it meant to be in a country with a health-care system overwhelmed by a disease carrying a high mortality rate, without readily available treatment and vaccination options, and complicated by distorted public attitudes about the threat.

“Their reactions were across the board,” Hensley said. “There were a lot of people who just didn’t even believe in Ebola. Thought it was something the government was doing. When I went to set up the lab, I remember the people didn’t ever want to take anything from my hands. There was this fear.”

May 24, 2023
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