Controversy Continues To Rage Over BU Biolab

By Will Roseliep

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Jan. 24, 2012

bu biolab

A lab suit in the biolab's highest-risk area. Officials say they will take every precaution to contain deadly germs. (Toni Waterman/WGBH)


BOSTON — Controversy continues to rage over the Boston University biolab in the South End, which is in its final stage of review with the National Institutes of Health. If approved for the full extent of its plan, the center could soon house some of the world's deadliest viruses, like Ebola and the plague.
 
Some neighbors of the lab are saying it's a danger to their community and the city at large. Barton Kunstler, an activist and consultant, says there's no such thing as a risk-free biolab: "There's a lot of danger around it, even in the most state-of-the-art Level 4 labs, and part of it is they're producing the versions of these biotoxins that are most likely to reach the public."
 
John Murphy, interim director at the biolab, says every precaution is being taken.
 
"All research that will go on within this facility will be as transparent as humanly possible," he says. "Every experiment that is going to be done is going to be vetted not only by the institution, but also by the Boston Public Health Commission."
 
A public hearing was scheduled for mid-February but has been pushed back to allow time to finalize reports, according to the NIH website.

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GREATER BOSTON: TOUR THE BIOLAB

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