NIH affirms that BU biolab poses minimal risk to surrounding area

The National Institutes of Health issued a supplemental record of decision on Wednesday regarding Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories confirming that the lab presents a minimal risk to the community.

The NIH report follows a comprehensive analysis by scientists and researchers related to potential safety hazards posed by the NEIDL. The 2,717 page risk assessment reviewed and analyzed scenarios involving exposure to laboratory workers and the general public.

The NIH also addressed scenarios placing the lab at alternative locations.

"The NIH conducted an exhaustive review of the lab and its findings were affirmed by an independent panel of eminent scientists on the blue ribbon panel," John R. Murphy, the ad interim director of NEIDL, said. "The NEIDL will be an important addition to life science research in our region and its work to improve public health will have local, national and global impact."

Before the lab can be open for BSL-3 and BSL-4 research, the university must seek approval from the Boston Public Health Commission, obtain a certificate from the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and be approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee. If the lab uses select agents, it must receive approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and/or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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