Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Boston Lab Poses "Extremely Low" Public Health Risk, New Study Finds
A U.S. government study released on Friday found that a state-of-the-art biodefense laboratory built in Boston would for the most part pose an "extremely low" public health danger if it is authorized to conduct research with some of the world's most dangerous disease agents, Nature reported (see GSN, Dec. 16, 2011).
The National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories at Boston University were constructed with the intent of enabling countermeasure and diagnostic research into Ebola, plague and other lethal diseases in high-security Biosafety Level 3 and 4 spaces.
The Boston public and public health advocacy organizations, however, have filed legal objections blocking the initiation of any research at the biodefense center's BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories.
The latest court-mandated draft security assessment by a National Institutes of Health advisory board determined that the "risk to the general public is extremely low, or beyond reasonably foreseeable, with the exception of secondary infections involving 1918 H1N1 influenza and SARS," according to the summary for the NIH analysis.
"The greatest risk is to individuals conducting research in the building," the summary adds.
Boston University reacted positively to the finding. "We are pleased that this stage of the draft supplementary risk assessment is completed. The National Institutes of Health and the Blue Ribbon Panel have worked diligently to develop a thorough and comprehensive analysis," university spokeswoman Ellen Berlin said.
The Massachusetts government in December authorized Boston University to start research in Biosafety Level 2 space.
The National Institutes of Health is scheduled to conduct a public form in mid-April in Boston to seek feedback on the latest security findings (Susan Young, Nature, Feb. 25).
March 12, 2013
The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.
Aug. 6, 2012
An annotated chronology of biological-related developments in North Korea
This article provides an overview of the United States’ historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.