Risk assessments for BU lab called incomplete

Scientists have declared that the initial risk assessments of the Biosafety Level-4 laboratory at Boston University were incomplete and that they cannot yet endorse its future purpose of deadly bacteria and viruses like anthrax, bubonic plague and Ebola.

Located in the South End of Boston, the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory is meant to house samples. A contingent of concerned citizens has started an anti-biolab campaign, The Daily Free Press reports. 

The National Research Council committee reviewed the risk assessment info that had been provided by the National Institutes of Health and found that, “it cannot endorse as scientifically and technically sound the illustrative analyses presented,” the report said, according to The Daily Free Press.

The report suggested increased use of case studies and better documentation of risk data to improve future assessments of the lab.

“Each report has failed,” Klare Allen, an anti-biolab activist and coordinator of Roxbury’s Stop the Bioterror Lab Coalition, said, The Daily Free Press reports. “It’s obvious that [neither] the NIH nor BU can say there is no risk to the city of Boston. We can’t keep giving these people chances when it comes to a risk assessment.”

On Thursday, BU released a statement responding to the report that stated the university was disappointed in Tetra Tech, the company the NIH hired to conduct the risk assessment, because they did not address the suggestions made by the NRC.

The NIH Blue Ribbon Panel announced that the full risk assessment should be completed towards the beginning of 2011.

Allen told the Daily Free Press that the efforts against the biolab would continue as a result of the report.

“We keep doing what we’re doing, we keep saying what we’re saying,” Allen said, The Daily Free Press reports. “We’re hoping that the governor will take the lead.”

Organizations in this story

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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