Researchers at Washington State University are working to prevent diseases from moving from animals to humans, and they will soon have a new state-of-the-art facility to help them.
The Pullman school broke ground Friday on the $35 million headquarters for its new School for Global Animal Health. The building was funded with a $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The rest came from other donors and through state bonds.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 75 percent of recently emerging infectious diseases in humans are of animal origin. Among those are anthrax, HIV and mad cow.
The WSU school is focusing on the intersection of animals, humans and the environment, mostly in poor countries, with the goal of preventing the next avian flu or swine flu bacteria from developing and eventually spreading. The new building will house some 100 scientists.
The Gates money is the largest single private grant in the school’s history.