Bigger Than Toyota? San Antonio Wants Bio-Defense Lab
Last Update: 1/20/2007
Posted By: Vickie Jean
» Read and view the WOAI-TV news story online
It may be the biggest
thing happening to San Antonio. The federal Department of Homeland Security
wants to build a national laboratory to fight bio-terrorism and San Antonio
is on the short list. City leaders are making their final push and hoping
the community shows its support.
Scientists in space
suits could someday mean as much to our local economy as all those assembly
line workers at the Toyota plant. The lab would provide hundreds of
high-paying jobs, sprout suppliers and spin-off businesses, and put San
Antonio at the center of the war on terrorism.
"In terms of national
security, this is vaccine development, says Dr. Harold Timboe, Vice
Chairman of the consortium of research facilities trying to land the
laboratory. It protects human lives. It protects livestock and our food
supply." The lab would replace Plum Island in New York as the national
headquarters for studying animal-to-human diseases and biological weapons.
San Antonio is one of a dozen cities still in the running, with three
possible sites in town: the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research,
Brooks City-Base, and the Texas Research Park.
The Southwest Foundation
is already one of only a few labs in the country allowed to conduct the most
dangerous biological research.
We have an impeccable
record in containment research, says Timboe. "We think we'll compete very
well amongst the other 11 cities that are still in the running for this very
prestigious federal laboratory."
Community leaders are
meeting Wednesday, January 24th to plan their strategy. Department of
Homeland Security officials will do site visits here this spring. And a
decision on this $500 million facility will be made in 2008.