NIH botched biolab safety study: NRC

The NIH's safety assessment of a linkurl:controversial Boston University laboratory;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24679/ did not thoroughly develop worst case scenarios or adequately compare safety risks at other proposed sites, finds a linkurl:National Research Council report.;http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12073 The council released its 28-page report yesterday (November 29th) after the Massachusetts government commissioned it to review the NIH appraisal, which had linku

By | November 30, 2007

The NIH's safety assessment of a linkurl:controversial Boston University laboratory;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24679/ did not thoroughly develop worst case scenarios or adequately compare safety risks at other proposed sites, finds a linkurl:National Research Council report.;http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12073 The council released its 28-page report yesterday (November 29th) after the Massachusetts government commissioned it to review the NIH appraisal, which had linkurl:concluded;http://www.nems.nih.gov/aspects/nat_resources/programs/nepa2.cfm in July 2007 that the site chosen to build the laboratory was the safest among three possible sites. But according to the council's report, "The conclusions reached in the [NIH] report are not adequately supported by the analyses." The linkurl:biodefense laboratory,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23076/ which will include a linkurl:Biosafety Level 4 facility,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53626 has faced linkurl:opposition;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23468 from residents in the South End area of Boston where the lab is being built. Yesterday's report concluded that the NIH assessment did not use appropriate pathogens in its models of worst case scenarios. "A more suitable analysis would have included the selection of agents that are more transmissible and thus might have created a greater risk of urban outbreaks," the council's report states. The NIH's report also did not specify the assumptions made in determining worst case scenario models, John Ahearne, emeritus director of the ethics program at Sigma Xi, said in a press release. According to the __Boston Globe's__ linkurl:report;http://tinyurl.com/yt6zvx today, opponents hope the council's report will help sway judges who are considering whether or not the lab should open.

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