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News | May 28, 2024

Strengthening Biosecurity in Nigeria

By Andrea Chaney Defense Threat Reduction Agency

The United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) recently held a groundbreaking ceremony with U.S. and Nigerian officials to commemorate the planned construction of a new biorepository for Nigeria’s National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI). As a testament to NVRI’s rich 100-year history and leadership in addressing zoonotic diseases that affect both humans and animals in the country and the region, NVRI and DTRA co-hosted a celebratory centennial event at the upcoming construction site in Vom, Nigeria. Special guests included the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires – David Greene, the Governor of the Plateau State - His Excellency Barrister Caleb Mutfwang, the Director of Planning and Policy Coordination at the Ministry of Agriculture – Ibrahim Tanimu, and 270 attendees from both the public and private sectors.

Serving as Nigeria’s foremost veterinary research institute, NVRI—established in 1924 following an outbreak that decimated Africa’s cattle population—has been a proven leader in all aspects of animal disease research, diagnostics, and vaccine development and production. For the last 100 years, the Institute has led novel research into animal diseases, developed and produced highly effective animal vaccines, conducted biosurveillance and diagnostics, and provided advisory services for farmers in rural communities.

Since 2018, DTRA has partnered with several Nigerian government entities to strengthen Nigeria’s biosafety and biosecurity at key facilities. The successful partnership between DTRA and NVRI has resulted in the creation of mutually established goals that led to DTRA’s focused investment in the construction of the new biorepository and sustainable renovations to other existing NVRI facilities—including enhancing waste management systems, water and power supplies, physical storage units, and interior and exterior repairs.

The goal of the new biorepository is to enable NVRI to consolidate its pathogen samples, currently housed in smaller individual laboratories across the campus, into a single location. Consolidating these samples will streamline laboratory operations; centralize and secure pathogens; and strengthen biosecurity practices at NVRI.

Through collaborative partnerships such as this, DTRA helps strengthen partner-country biosafety and biosecurity practices to prevent the accidental or intentional release of high-threat pathogens, and strengthen its biosurveillance capacities and capabilities to prevent, detect, and prevail against high-threat pathogen outbreaks and minimize their impact to local, regional, and international communities.

For more information on the Biological Threat Reduction Program and other DTRA programs, visit


DTRA provides cross-cutting solutions to enable the Department of Defense, the United States Government, and international partners to deter strategic attack against the United States and its allies; prevent, reduce, and counter WMD and emerging threats; and prevail against WMD-armed adversaries in crisis and conflict.  

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