MANHATTAN – Governor Laura Kelly today toured the Kansas State University Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) to learn more about its work fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, including through potential vaccine development, medicine discovery, and understanding how animals may be affected by the virus.
“The Kansas State University Biosecurity Research Institute has a long history of excellence and innovation researching disease spread like what we are currently facing with COVID-19,” Governor Kelly said. “My conversations with BRI staff served as a reminder of how many of our best and brightest have answered the call to help end the pandemic. While my administration is doing everything in our power to get Kansans back to work and kids back to school safely – the contributions being made by our health community will be instrumental to protecting the people of this state and our economy.”
Kansas State University President Richard Myers also joined Governor Kelly on Thursday’s tour.
“Kansas State University has tremendous expertise to bring against zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19,” President Myers said. “Our capabilities began with the production of antisera for classical swine fever in 1908 and have accelerated since. Our combined assets and expertise have earned Kansas State University the reputation of the ‘Silicon Valley for biodefense.’”
BRI, located at Pat Roberts Hall on the Kansas State University Manhattan campus, is typically the home of comprehensive infectious disease research to address threats to plant, animal, and human health, including food-borne pathogens. The hub contains multiple biosafety level 3 labs – the second-highest level of security possible.
Since the pandemic began, the highly-trained BRI researchers and staff have applied their unique expertise to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, just as they have with earlier epidemics such as SARS and MERS.
On Wednesday, the Kansas Department of Health said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas increased by 841 to a total of 29,717. They also reported 3 new deaths for a total of 368 since the pandemic began.