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Biocontainment labs awarded

Nearly $400 million in grants will go to building national and regional high-security research facilities

Charles Choi(cqchoi@nasw.org)

The long-awaited announcement of more than $380 million in federal grants to build 11 high-security laboratories was made yesterday (September 30) by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). One-time grants of roughly $120 million each will fund construction of two National Biocontainment Laboratories (NBLs), one at Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) and the other at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston. Grants ranging from $7 to $21 million each will also go to build nine Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBLs), housing lower-security lab facilities.

"In order to do the research we need to protect the people of the United States and the world against the threat of bioterrorism and new and emerging diseases, we need appropriate facilities where the work can be conducted safely and securely," senior NIAID program officer Rona Hirschberg told The Scientist.

The NBLs will house Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) labs, the...

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