1918 flu study delayed two years

University of Washington research on hold due to changing biocontainment rules

John Dudley Miller
Feb 12, 2006
Controversial research to understand how macaque monkeys respond when infected with parts of the 1918 flu virus has been delayed for 16 months and will not begin for at least another year until the University of Washington (UW) renovates its regional primate lab - currently equipped only for up to Biosafety Level (BSL) 2 animal experiments - to meet beefed-up federal biosecurity requirements. "A year and a half ago, all the regulations said [that] for influenza virus you needed biosafety level 2, and that's it," David Emery, chair of UW's institutional biosafety committee, told The Scientist. "We knew we had to go higher than that," he said, so they waited. Indeed, last fall, the US government raised the level to between BSL-3 and BSL-4, the highest possible level, and that "moving target" is one of the main reasons for the long delay, Emery said.In September, 2004 UW professor...

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