Green Light for Boston Biolab?

A controversial Boston University laboratory could open by the end of the month, but at a lower safety rating than originally planned.

By | December 7, 2011

A researcher working in a biosafety level 3-enhanced laboratory setting WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, CDC'S PUBLIC HEALTH IMAGE LIBRARY

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs last week (December 2) granted preliminary approval for Boston University to open its long awaited and highly controversial biomedical research laboratory, but only for work on less hazardous substances than originally proposed, The Boston Globe reported. In addition, the environmental agency is requiring another round of public comment, starting today (December 7) and lasting 2 two weeks. After that, the agency says it will consider issuing the final approval for the lab to begin biosafety level-2 research, which involves “agents that pose moderate hazards to personnel and the environment,” according to the federal government’s definition.

“BU researchers will focus on Tuberculosis and experiments that have been approved for the [biosafety level-2] laboratories,” the University said in a statement. “They expect to begin work in early 2012.”

While the University says it’s pleased with the preliminary decision, the original plan was for the facility, called the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, was to study high-security organisms, such as Ebola and the plague. But as concern from the community caused legal and regulatory delays for the construction and opening of the 192,000-square-foot building, the University decided to apply for permission to start with less controversial substances. The University still plans to seek eventual approval to use part of the building as a biosafety level-4 lab, however, and is currently undergoing an environmental safety review by the National Institutes of Health.

(Hat tip to The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Opinion: Stop Submitting Papers
  2. Genetic Test Solves Royal Mystery
    Notebook Genetic Test Solves Royal Mystery

    Genetic analyses lay to rest conspiracy theories about death of Belgian King Albert I, who lost his life in a rock climbing accident more than 80 years ago.

  3. Bacteria and Humans Have Been Swapping DNA for Millennia
  4. Investigation Finds Pathologist Guilty of Systemic Misconduct