NIH has established a new panel to review safety considerations in the linkurl:biocontainment lab; currently under construction in a densely populated Boston neighborhood, the agency announced today in a linkurl:press release.; Boston University has had plans to build the Biosafety Level 4 facility since 2003, when it received a $120 million grant from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the project. But community opposition has dogged the plan since then. Last year, a linkurl:National Research Council; report concluded that NIH had flubbed its assessment of potential safety risks posed by the facility, and the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that further linkurl:safety studies; were required before the lab could open. The Blue Ribbon Panel will hold its first public meeting on March 13. "Our number one concern is the safety of the people working in the laboratory and those living in the surrounding communities," NIH director Elias Zerhouni...

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