Boston City Council debates level 4 research ban

Community members packed the Boston City Council chambers on April 16 to attend a hearing regarding a proposed ban of Level 4 research at Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) in South Boston.

"My concern is that the type of research taking place in this facility could pose a very serious risk to the public," Councilor Charles Yancey said, according to South End News. "Over the past 12 years and at least a half dozen hearings, I have yet to hear from the administration how we are going to protect our first responders."

The NEIDL carries out level 3 research, which studies pathogens that cause severe illness or death, but have treatments. Level 4 research involves pathogens for which treatments and vaccines do not exist, such as ebola.

Yancey proposed the ban to the city council, calling the level 4 research "reckless and irresponsible," South End News reports.

The city council meeting began at 4 p.m. and lasted until 10:45 p.m. The council heard testimony from three panels and dozens of community members that spoke in favor of and against the ban.

Boston University Medical Campus and Associate Director of the NEIDL Ronald Corley said the Biolab would not be involved in defense-related bioweapons research, but only conduct research on public health-related pathogens, according to South End News.

Committee chairman Michael Flaherty adjourned the meeting and said a vote on the ordinance would take place in approximately two weeks, South End News reports.