DHS seeks Plum Island biodefense support

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Division recently issued a request for information for sources able to provide support for chemical and biological defense at Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

The support would include both veterinary and technical support. The veterinary support would include the verification, auditing and maintenance of select agent inventories, in addition to animal inoculations and vaccinations. The technical support requirements include assistance in the development of foreign animal disease countermeasures and vaccines, Global Biodefense reports.

"PIADC is vital to successfully implementing a national strategy for protecting U.S. agriculture from a bioterrorist attack involving the intentional introduction of foreign animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease," the announcement said, according to Global Biodefense. "PIADC supports the mission of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, and the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service."

PIADC is the only facility in the U.S. with the research and confirmatory diagnostic capability for particular high-consequence foreign animal diseases like FMD. It is the only laboratory in the U.S. equipped with livestock animal rooms and research facilities that allow for the study of the diseases in livestock.

The RFI estimates that the period of performance will consist of a base period of one year with four possible option years. The estimated starting month would be December and the response deadline is March 4, Global Biodefense reports.