Progress on National bio-defense lab in Kansas delayed again

October 27, 2021 GMT

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Construction on a national bio-defense laboratory in Manhattan has been delayed, federal officials said.

Officials said earlier this year that the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility would be substantially completed by this October.

Now, the construction is expected to finish in the spring of next year, with commission of the laboratory in the summer, The Manhattan Mercury reported.

The Department of Homeland Security and the United States Department of Agriculture are collaborating on opening the facility.

A Homeland Security official said technology upgrades and equipment installation is taking longer than expected.

“The technology efficacy of the building is of the utmost importance and is a critical aspect of standing up this facility,” Tim Barr, NBAF program manager for Homeland Security, said in a written statement. “We are testing individual systems and testing again as systems are integrated with other systems, so it is very difficult to predict how long it will take to ensure each system is working as intended given the complexities of the facility.”

Once completed, researchers at the facility will study diseases that can be spread from animals to humans.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture began managing operations and maintenance in the facility earlier this month.