Boston University’s biolab launches website

Before researchers enter a level 4 lab, they will have to put on a $2,600 protective suit. When they exit the lab, they will first have to take a 7-minute decontamination shower.
NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

The controversial Boston University biolab that has scared some residents into opposing its operation launched a website in part to “give people confidence” in the lab.

While the website launched earlier this month, the university announced the site for the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories today.

Officials touted that the site includes access to quarterly incident reports; however, because certain research at the lab began in April, the report currently available on the site is for January to March and lists no incidents.

The site also includes sections on safety plans, research compliance, biographies of the researchers and video tours of the lab.

The aim of the website is to quell some of the fears associated with the lab. Neighbors in Roxbury and the South End have protested the lab for years over concerns about the types of diseases that it may house.

“Transparency is really a critical element,” Stephen Burgay, BU senior vice president for external affairs, said to BU Today. “Given the unique nature of this lab, we found it was important to take as many steps as we can to give people confidence that they know exactly what’s going on inside.”

State officials gave permission for the center to begin low-level biosafety research in the facility and that started in April. Diseases that fall in to that category include strains of tuberculosis, the Dengue virus and measles.

However, research on the deadliest diseases has not yet been approved.

In January, Metro took a tour of the biolab as officials again tried to soothe nerves as researchers prepared to begin work.


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