Bioterror/Biowar

Final risk assessment released for BU biolab

Chelsea Conaboy, Boston Globe, July 7, 2012 The National Institutes of Health issued a final risk assessment Friday for a controversial Boston University laboratory where researchers hope to study some of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases. The report triggers a 30-day comment period before the agency issues a decision on whether the risk posed by the lab is acceptable. Then long-stalled legal challenges, which prompted this latest review of the biolab, could move forward in state and federal courts. ... Final

Security lapses found at CDC bioterror lab in Atlanta

Alison Young, USA Today, June 27, 2012 A federal bioterror laboratory already under investigation by Congress for safety issues has had repeated incidents of security doors left unlocked to an area where experiments occur with dangerous germs, according to internal agency e-mails obtained by USA Today. In one incident, an unauthorized employee was discovered inside a restricted area. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman says the unsecured door incidents in 2010 and 2009 inside its Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory in Atlanta were "not an acceptable practice of the agency." ... Security

Congress investigating leak at CDC bio-lab

Brian Todd & Dugald McConnell, CNN News Service, June 22, 2012 Washington - It’s a highly secured, sophisticated research lab studying deadly diseases such as bird flu, monkeypox, tuberculosis and rabies. It’s in a facility called Building 18, which cost taxpayers $214 million. And now, the Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is also the subject of a congressional investigation after a potentially dangerous airflow leak at that lab. The leak occurred February 16, when air flowed the wrong way out of a germ lab into a clean-air corridor ... Congress

Influenza: Five questions on H5N1

Scientists now know that the deadly bird flu virus is capable of causing a human pandemic. That makes tackling the remaining unknowns all the more urgent. Ed Yong, Nature, June 21, 2012 The biology of the H5N1 avian influenza virus is rife with paradoxes. The virus is widespread, but hard to detect. It kills more than half of the people known to be infected, but thousands of those exposed have no apparent problems. It seems to be just a few mutations away from gaining the ability to spread from person to person, but despite more than 16 years of fast-paced evolution, it has failed to do so. ... Influenza

After Possible Leak in Georgia, Minnesota Bio Lab 'Absolutely' Safe

Mark Albert, KAALtv, June 18, 2012 Minnesota's only public health bio-safety lab is "absolutely very secure," even after the same type of lab at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is under investigation for claims of "major violations" of safety.

 "We have not had a breach at this lab," Maureen Sullivan, supervisor of the Public Health Preparedness Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health, told 5 Eyewitness News.

 During a tour of the "level three" lab at an undisclosed location in the metro, Sullivan explained that her staff tests some of the most dangerous infectious diseases known to man. ... After

As senators seek funds, report finds flaws in Kansas biolab analysis

Dave Helling, Kansas City Star, June 15, 2012 Kansas and Missouri senators on Friday urged the Obama administration to spend millions of dollars set aside for a new biohazard lab, despite continuing concerns about its risks. Their pleas followed the release of a report by a special committee of the National Research Council. The study found that the Department of Homeland Security is still misjudging dangers at the proposed lab - known as the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility - planned for Manhattan, Kansas. The review committee said that Homeland Security used “questionable and inappropriate assumptions” when it calculated the chances ... As

Yancey hearing exposes community concerns regarding BU’s Biolab

Office of Councillor Yancey, June 6, 2012

Boston City Hall – The Boston City Council Committee on Labor, Youth Affairs and Health held a public hearing this week at the Cathedral Housing Development in Boston to discuss the pathogenicity of certain infectious agents by Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) in Boston.

Boston City Councillor Charles C. Yancey last month called for the hearing to insure safety measures are in place to protect the public in the event that lethal pathogens escape from the laboratory.

Community members unconvinced of safety measures in BU biolab

Amelia Pak-Harvey, Boston University Daily Free Press, June 5, 2012 Although proponents of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories said the facilities have the proper safeguards, Boston University students and locals called for officials to stop the study of Level-4 pathogens at a hearing Monday night. About 60 opponents and defendants of the BU biolab attended the hearing in the Cathedral Housing Development in the South End to express their views on the research on viruses. NEIDL, which began Level-2 tuberculosis research in April, has yet to receive permission to work with Level-4 pathogens. ... Community

BU Biolab PSA - video

UIDTIAGITPTBITMOB, May 24, 2012 A BU Biolab Public Service Announcement by uhhh, i don't think it's a good idea to put that Biolab in Boston - a bu facebook group. ... BU

Tufts University seeking to open infectious disease lab

Main emphasis on tuberculosis. Kay Lazar, Boston Globe, May 17, 2012 Tufts University announced Wednesday that it intends to seek approval to build a 1,700-square-foot biosafety level 3 research laboratory within an existing building on the campus of its School of Medicine on Harrison Avenue, in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood. The school said that the facility will allow its researchers to find new ways to prevent and treat serious infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis. A biosafety level 3 lab is defined by regulators as one in which work is done with germs that may cause serious ... Tufts

MBTA to Spread Dead Bacteria on Red Line in Bio-Terror Test

In order to test sensors that detect biological agents that terror groups could release into subway systems, Homeland Security and the T plan to release dead bacteria at three Red Line stops during off-hours. Chris Helms, South End Patch, May 17, 2012 The MBTA and Homeland Security plan to release dead bacteria into three Red Line stations this summer to test bio-terror sensors. The agencies held a public meeting about the plan Wednesday. The bacteria, bacillus subtilis, is not infectious even in its live form, according to government documents. ... MBTA

Bioterrorism Bill Gridlocked In Congress

Andrea Stone, Huffington Post, May 11, 2012 Washington - Nearly four years after a congressionally mandated commission warned that bioterrorism poses the greatest threat to the nation, the former Democratic senator who chaired the panel said legislation that would implement its recommendations is "almost assured of failure" because of power-hungry Capitol Hill lawmakers. ... Bioterrorism

Opponents Speak Out at Hearing on Biolab - video

BNN News, April 20, 2012 About one hundred people, mainly opponents, turn out at the last in a series of risk assessment hearings on the Level 4 biolab proposed for Boston's South End. The hearings are being held by a special panel put together by the National Institutes of Health. ... Opponents

BU Biolab hearing - video

pdrosso, April 20, 2012 Concerned residents, protesters, and politicians turned out Thursday night to voice their opposition to the Boston University Biolab located in the South End and slated to study some of the world's deadliest pathogens. ... BU

Residents speak out against biolab at forum

Eddie Donga, Boston University Daily Free Press, April 20, 2012 Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories will not test lethal, infectious diseases such as Ebola without opposition, community members said at a forum on the biolab Thursday evening. About 200 Boston residents gathered at Roxbury Community College for the final meeting of the National Institute of Health’s risk assessment of the biolab. The biolab is currently conducting Level 2 research on tuberculosis and other lower-risk diseases, but since its opening in 2008, Level 4 testing for more fatal diseases has been unapproved. ... Residents

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