Category: Events

Hot Debate on Level 4 Ban; City Council Hears Varied Voices and Views on Biolab

April 28th, 2014 in Events, In The News

Original article from: MySouthEnd.com, posted on April 23, 2014. By Michele D. Maniscalco

The Boston City Council’s Committee on Government Operations heard from about 70 witnesses at a lengthy and lively hearing last week on Docket #0227, Councilor Charles Yancey’s proposed ban of Level 4 research in the city. City Hall’s Iannella Chamber was packed to the rafters, with spectators filling every available seat and space around the perimeter, even on the steps at the April 16 session. The hearing began at 4:00 PM and adjourned at approximately 10:45 PM after testimony from three panels and dozens of community members. Committee chairman Michael Flaherty led the hearing with District 4 councilor Charles Yancey, who authored and sponsored the ordinance. The ordinance and hearing are recent developments in a years-long battle between Boston University (BU) and community groups opposing level 3 and4 research at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) on Albany Street. Level 3 research examines pathogens that can cause severe illness or death but for which treatments exist, while level 4 research involves pathogens for illnesses such as ebola that cause fatal illness and for which there is no vaccine or cure.

In his opening statement, Yancey said, “My concern is that the type of research taking place in this facility could pose a very serious risk to the public. Over the past 12 years and at least a half dozen hearings, I have yet to hear from the administration how we are going to protect our first responders.” Yancey noted the tragically high number of losses among Boston’s first responders in recent years and added, “I don’t want to see our first responders running into harm’s way because of catastrophic event in this level 4 lab.” Yancey said that he recently asked the Boston police commissioner what he would order his officers to do in the event of a catastrophe at the lab, and that the commissioner said he would order them to stay out of the building. Yancey then questioned why the city would invite research that would pose such a risk, saying that it would be “reckless and irresponsible for the city to allow research on diseases with no known cure, “where just one human mistake can be catastrophic for the rest of society.” He also noted that Cambridge has a ban against level 4 research, but still has a reputation as a center of science and research. Yancey suggested that since the facility has been built already, it should instead conduct non-level 4 research on diseases such as AIDS and sickle cell anemia that currently affect society. After Yancey’s remarks, Flaherty read written comments from City Council president Bill Linehan expressing his support over the past seven years for level 4 research at the Biolab and his opposition to Yancey’s proposed ban.

 

Read the full article in MySouthEnd

Emergency Preparedness Drill at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories This Week

December 16th, 2013 in Events, Featured, Press Releases

Emergency Preparedness Drill at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories This Week

On December 19, Boston University (BU) and the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) will conduct a tabletop emergency preparedness drill as part of the ongoing safety and training program for laboratory personnel and internal and external response officials.  This drill will simulate an earthquake, similar to the one that occurred in 1755 off Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

The participants in this exercise include: NEIDL operations staff and researchers as well as external responders such as, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Police Department, Boston Fire Department and Boston Inspectional Services.

A tabletop drill tests a hypothetical situation, such as a natural or man-made disaster, and the group’s ability to respond, assess damage, and identify short- and long-term recovery issues. This exercise provides the opportunity to continuously improve response and training at the NEIDL and throughout the University.

While there may be emergency response vehicles at NEIDL during the drill, there will be no impact on traffic in the neighborhood.

Currently, BSL-2 research is being conducted in the NEIDL and BSL-3 research will be starting soon.  BSL-4 research is not being conducted at the NEIDL now and will not commence until the completion of several regulatory and judicial steps.

For more information on the NEIDL go to www.bu.edu/NEIDL.

NIH Plans Public Meeting to Solicit Comments on Supplementary Draft Risk Assessment for the NEIDL

April 2nd, 2012 in Events

NIH is accepting public comments on the Draft Supplementary Risk Assessment through May 1, 2012, and is holding a public meeting on Thursday, April 19, 2012, in order to solicit comments only on the Draft Supplementary Risk Assessment. The meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA 02120.

Read more on the NIH website.