Texas A&M administrators lobby Austin for BSL-3 facility

Administrators from Texas A&M recently visited the Texas state Capitol to push for funding to support a research and diagnostic facility to test and evaluate countermeasures against infectious diseases.

The planned $80 million facility includes a biosafety level 3 laboratory that can be used to isolate dangerous biological agents. There are currently only three similar facilities in the United States, none of which are in Texas, according to TheEagle.com.

Texas A&M has biosafety facilities capable of working with smaller animals, such as mice, but nothing as yet that can deal with larger animals, such as cattle or horses.

A&M officials said that the state's proximity to Mexico, its large number of international ports and sizeable agriculture sector make the facility a necessity. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said that the facility would also directly benefit Texans because it will study diseases that are transmissible in humans, such as West Nile virus, TheEagle.com reports.

Loftin joined representatives from the University of Texas at the state capitol for Orange & Maroon Legislative Day. The event is held every year in Austin. This year, more than 200 administrators, students and alumni attended in an effort to undo recent education cuts and to seek funding for a variety of projects.