Governor Tom Vilsack is asking President Bush to intervene and make Iowa State University a finalist for a federal lab that would develop animal vaccines for diseases that can be transferred to humans who eat meat from diseased animals or care for sick animals. Vilsack says because of the advantages that Iowa State University has, the vaccines can be developed more quickly — and Vilsack says that means we’ll all be protected more quickly. Vilsack says it’s a “no-brainer” that Iowa State would be the perfect place for such a lab since the expert on animal vaccine development teaches at Iowa State, and the university is home to the U-S-D-A Animal Disease lab, a World Health Organization lab and a Centers for Disease Control veterinary health center.Vilsack says Iowa State has worked hard to become the national leader in this area with all the tools, all the personnel, all the equipment and all the knowledge to create the vaccines. The federal government aims to create vaccines that prevent animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans, and then create a stockpile of those vaccines. Federal officials in the Homeland Security agency plan to visit the University of Minnesota and Texas A-and-M — the finalists for the vaccine research center. Vilsack says a review committee report found Iowa State to be the best site, but Ames isn’t even in the running.
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