Boston University BSL-4 lab receives improved plan assessment

The National Academy of Sciences recently announced that the National Institutes of Health have dramatically improved their assessment of plans to build a biosafety level 4 lab at the Boston University Medical Center.

The proposed BSL-4 lab would be capable of world’s most dangerous pathogens, and raised concern among neighborhood residents. A 2007 NAS review called the NIH’s risk assessment “not sound or credible,” according to CIDRAP News.

The NAS faulted the agency for its lack of transparency with its assessment modeling. The academy also said that the NIH failed to address environmental justice concerns that accompanied placing the project in the middle of an urban center. In response, the NIH created two committees to address safety concerns in 2008.

In a statement, NAS officials said that the NIH had gone to great lengths to improve the quality of its draft risk assessment, and the report is much closer to being scientifically and technically sound, CIDRAP News reports. The agency has offered the NIH suggestions for its final draft.

The NIH next plans to release the 1,700 page draft to the public for comments.

Boston University recently received preliminary approval from Massachusetts environmental officials to open their lab for biomedical research on substances that are less hazardous than those which sparked opposition to the project.

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