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Biological Warfare: Priority to Bioweapons Research over Public Health

Sherwood Ross, Global Research, May 1, 2010 The priorities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the area of bacteriology have been “catastrophically re-ordered” by emphasizing bioweapons research over non-bioweapons research, a prominent authority states. Giving priority to bioweapons research at NIH, started under the Bush Administration and continuing under President Obama, “diverts resources from critical public-health and scientific objectives,” says Richard Ebright, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. ... Biological

Biolab hearing stirs protests, pits panel against community

Jacqueline Lacy, Boston University Daily Free Press, April 29, 2010 Debate over the safety of Boston University’s Biosafety Level-4 laboratory was reignited Wednesday night at a meeting concerning the risk assessment associated with the biolab. The National Institutes of Health Blue Ribbon Panel for the Risk Assessment of the biolab held a hearing at the Marriot Copley Plaza Hotel to discuss with an audience of about 200 about the current status of the risk assessment of the laboratory to be completed by Tetra Tech, a firm that specializes in such studies. ... Biolab

Foes question public stake in BU lab

Doubt benefit of biohazard facility. Travis Andersen, Boston Globe, April 29, 2010 Opponents of the Boston University biolab project say the school should develop vaccines on the site for illnesses plaguing the community, such as cancer and AIDS, instead of agents for diseases that they say pose no public health threat to the area. Activists gathered before last night’s public meeting on the project, which was held at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, and spoke out against the facility, where scientists plan to hunt for vaccines for illnesses such as Ebola and to combat a plague. They said such research would put residents of the South End and Roxbury at risk ... Foes

Opponents argue that Boston biolab doesn't help the public

Tina Redlup,, April 29, 2010 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. ... Opponents

Biolab meeting to be third in 2 years

Supporters: Steady pace shows thorough approach.
Opponents: Delays just keep lab from opening.
Justin A. Rice, Boston Metro, April 28, 2010

When Boston University proposes a Level 4 biolab on Albany Street in the South End in 2003, they hoped to be studying the world’s deadliest germs by now.

Four years after a federal judge ordered a new risk assessment, the panel overseeing the study is forcing BU to be more patient.

But the fact that tonight is just the third local public meeting since the blue ribbon panel was established in 2008 has many opponents saying that the slow pace is indicative of larger problems.

Biodefense Research & Biological Weapons

Traprock, 2010 In September and October 2001, anthrax in letters which were sent through the US postal service killed five people. This was the first and, to date, only deadly bioattack in the United States. (The other documented deliberate use of a pathogen involved the contamination of food with the pathogen salmonella, which sickened 177 people in 1987.) The source of the anthrax letters is widely suspected to be US Army biodefense scientist, Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide as he was being pursued by FBI. The 2001 anthrax attack set off a massive flow of federal funding for research on live, virulent, bioweapons agents ... Biodefense

Scientific panel holding BU biolab hearing in Boston

Stephen Smith, Boston Globe, April 27, 2010 A blue ribbon panel of scientists advising the federal government on Boston University's controversial high-security research laboratory will hold a hearing tomorrow night in Boston's Copley Square. The session is scheduled for 6:30 to 10 PM at the Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Avenue, in Salon F. The panel is advising the National Institutes of Health on how to improve its environmental safety review of the lab project, which sits complete but not operating in the South End on BU's medical school campus. ... Scientific

Alternative Plan for BU Bio-Terror lab to be Unveiled on Wednesday

Having lost faith in Boston University, Boston residents will present their own Alternative Use Proposal before National Institutes of Health and Boston University public meeting.
Roxbury Safety Net & the Stop the BU Bio-Terror Lab Coalition, April 27, 2010

Biolab/Bioterror Lab "Risk Assessment" Meeting

Mike Cote, Blue Mass Group, April 26, 2010 On Wednesday, April 28, there is Important Community Meeting scheduled on the BIOLAB "RISK ASSESSMENT" @ 6:30-9:45 PM at the Copley Square Marriott, 110 Huntington Avenue, Salon F, Boston. It is presented as "NIH Information session for the community to learn about the latest risk assessment of the BU Biolab." However, eight years and three flawed risk assessments later, the National Institutes of Health and Boston University are still trying to convince the community that the BSL4 lab they plan to open in the Roxbury/South End neighborhood of Boston will not present a danger to the community. ... Biolab/Bioterror

Colleague Disputes Case Against Anthrax Suspect

Scott Shane, New York Times, April 22, 2010 Washington - A former Army microbiologist who worked for years with Bruce E. Ivins, whom the FBI has blamed for the anthrax letter attacks that killed five people in 2001, told a National Academy of Sciences panel on Thursday that he believed it was impossible that the deadly spores had been produced undetected in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory, as the FBI asserts. Asked by reporters after his testimony whether he believed that there was any chance that Dr. Ivins, who committed suicide in 2008, had carried out the attacks, the microbiologist, Henry S. Heine, replied, “Absolutely not.” ... Colleague

Biohazard fears voiced at hearing

Siemens plant may use more dangerous agents. Michele Morgan Bolton, Boston Globe, April 18, 2010 Frightened of biological spills, inadequate disaster response, and even a high incidence of autism and other disorders in children who live near Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Walpole residents packed a public hearing Tuesday to urge the Board of Health to heed safety before adopting regulations for the 500,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. The emotionally charged meeting drew dozens of residents who doubt Siemens’s ability to safeguard the community as it expands its output of diagnostic tests to biosafety Level 3 ... Biohazard

Grant to fund jobs at MDI biolab

Mainebiz, April 8, 2010 Thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Defense, the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory plans to expand its research on limb regeneration and add up to 50 new positions. The DoD grant will allow the lab's Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine to continue research on why humans lost the ability to regenerate limbs and how it can be regained, according to a press release. Director Dr. Kevin Strange said the funding will support 8-10 positions at the lab this year, and 50 positions over the next five. Lab research has shown that regeneration was once the norm for vertebrates, such as skates, which share 95% of its genes with humans ... Grant

High biosafety lab troubles residents

US Army research institute at Fort Detrick and local community at odds over risk assessment. Emerging Health Threats Forum, March 12, 2010 When Frederick County’s residents heard of the US Army’s plans to expand the local biocontainment facility at Fort Detrick - which houses some of the most dangerous biological agents known - safety was an immediate concern. After the Army’s Environmental Impact Statement failed to allay their fears the residents petitioned Congress for an assessment from the National Research Council (NRC). The findings of that assessment were published last week. ... High

FBI, Laying Out Evidence, Closes Anthrax Letters Case

Scott Shane, New York Times, February 20, 2010 Washington - More than eight years after anthrax-laced letters killed five people and terrorized the country, the FBI on Friday closed its investigation, adding eerie new details to its case that the 2001 attacks were carried out by Bruce E. Ivins, an Army biodefense expert who killed himself in 2008. A 92-page report, which concludes what by many measures is the largest investigation in FBI history, laid out the evidence against Dr. Ivins, including his equivocal answers when asked by a friend in a recorded conversation about whether he was the anthrax mailer. ... FBI

Biological threats: A matter of balance

Scientists Working Group on Biological & Chemical Weapons, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 2, 2010 The Graham-Talent WMD Commission asserted again last week that a bioterrorism attack that "will fundamentally change the character of life for the world's democracies" is highly likely to occur within the next four years. The commission argues that the United States must urgently expand its efforts to develop vaccines and other medical countermeasures against potential bioterrorism agents. We disagree with the commission on both points. It exaggerates the bioterrorist threat and proposes solutions that won't produce the comprehensive approach needed ... Biological

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