Opponents argue that Boston biolab doesn't help the public

Opponents of a Boston University bioloab project have argued that the facility should be used to develop vaccines for illnesses the community faces rather than biothreats that they say pose no public health to the area.

Activists speaking before a public meeting on the $192 million National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory project at the Boston Marriott Copley Place spoke out against the facility, saying that its research into dangerous biothreats would place South End and Roxbury residents at risk without providing any benefits.

“We don’t get anything out of it," Klare Allen, a member of Roxbury Safety Net, which opposes the lab, told Boston.com.

Allen also said that residents have not bee made aware of the risks of the lab by federal officials.

“They just aren’t doing their jobs," Allen said.

Lynn Klotz, a biotechnology consultant and former Harvard professor, argued that the lab's search for vaccines that will only affect a single virus provided only a limited scope of help.

“For example, a drug designed to cure anthrax would only cure anthrax; a drug designed to cure plague would only cure plague," Klotz told Boston.com. “None of the [targeted] agents [are] a public health threat, so in the U.S., whatever they develop will have almost no public health value."

The lab should instead develop vaccine technologies and infectious disease drugs that offer substantial public health concern, Klotz added.