Newswise — San Antonio, Texas (February 1, 2021) – A $1.2. million challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation brings Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) closer to its goal of $10 million to fund the construction of its Nonhuman Primate Animal Facility (NHP ALFA) on its campus. The Institute is more than halfway to its goal. This project will accommodate the critical need of the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC) to provide innovative, contemporary accommodations and laboratory space for animals involved in research that aid in testing the safety and efficacy of new and improved diagnostics, therapies and vaccines at a larger scale. The NHP ALFA facility is a planned 45,000 sq. ft. building being established to help fill the growing need for animal models and essentially double the population of rhesus macaques currently on the Texas Biomed campus.
Currently, the nation faces a shortage of nonhuman primates for biomedical research, which is a critical need to advance diagnostics, therapies and vaccines for human and animal health. The current COVID-19 pandemic highlights this issue.
“We are thankful for this award and for the Mabee Foundation for recognizing the need to provide enhanced living and research space for the further development of effective nonhuman primate models which are critical for advancing medical breakthroughs to combat emerging infectious diseases,” said Dr. Larry Schlesinger, M.D., Professor and President/CEO of Texas Biomed. “It’s better to be ready than to get ready for the next pandemic. And, with the new NHP ALFA facility, the SNPRC will be better positioned to answer the call and meet the demand towards the advancement of human health.”
During the pandemic, concerns over a shortage of nonhuman primates to test vaccines for COVID-19 made headlines. The NHP ALFA will not only serve as a testing hub for internal scientists it will also provide for the testing needs for other labs conducting lifesaving research. The need for this facility is far-reaching within the bioscience industry, said Dr. Akudo Anyanwu, M.D., Vice President for Development at Texas Biomed.
“Investment in these critical areas of need, such as infrastructure to expand research and testing capabilities is more important today than ever before,” Dr. Anyanwu said. “As we fight an invisible virus that is continuing to affect health systems worldwide, we’re also made aware of just how vulnerable we are. We are extremely grateful the Mabee Foundation has issued this challenge grant, and we look forward to working with others in our community who wish to support scientific advancement.”
According to its website, The Mabee Foundation was founded by John and Lottie Mabee in 1948 and supports organizations or projects in the following areas: Educational; social and humanitarian services; medical and health; and cultural and religious.
Texas Biomed has a near 80-year history of working closely with the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and many others for whom we have helped develop science, diagnostics, therapies and vaccines for ebola virus, hepatitis C, HIV, Zika, marburg, SARS-CoV-2 and tuberculosis, among others.
Texas Biomed is one of the world's leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to eradicating infection and advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Texas Biomed partners with researchers and institutions around the world to develop vaccines and therapeutics against viral pathogens causing AIDS, hepatitis, hemorrhagic fever, tuberculosis and parasitic diseases responsible for malaria and schistosomiasis disease. The Institute has programs in host-pathogen interaction, disease intervention and prevention and population health to understand the links between infectious diseases and other diseases such as aging, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to www.TxBiomed.org.