In addition to building design and construction, these safeguards include:

  • The recruitment of experienced researchers, as well as continuously ongoing training to ensure a culture of safety
  • The rigorous observance of standard operating procedures for safety, security, and operations
  • Limited and controlled access to the NEIDL and its laboratory facilities
  • Extensive security checks of persons and property by our State Police–trained Public Safety Officers, who provide 24-hour/7-day-per-week security.

State-of-the-Art Security

NEIDL follows the guidelines established by the BMBL (Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th ed.) published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides the foundation of biosafety practices and policies in the US. NEIDL also follows all external guidelines and regulations of the Boston Public Health Commission and the Centers for Disease Control for biosafety in containment and select agent research, a list of pathogens requiring special containment facilities for their study. Both agencies conduct unannounced as well as announced inspections of our facility, our researchers, and our standard operating procedures and practices. NEIDL is accountable to independent public health and safety officials in more than a dozen local, state, and federal agencies and organizations. To ensure that the laboratories are operating according to established parameters, daily inspections of essential containment and life support systems are completed and documented before laboratory work may begin.

Several Safety Plans support the culture of safety in place at Boston University; the manuals describe how it is managed and overseen, and the process for emergency response. The documents, especially the Biosafety Manual, provide the guidelines for safe work in a research environment including security, transportation, medical surveillance, and oversight. See Safety Plans.

1/15/16 – Boston, Massachusetts
Images of researchers, labs, and equipment at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Lab (NEIDL) on the Boston University Medical Center campus on January 15, 2016.
Photo by Tim Llewellyn for Boston University Photography.

Beyond safety, we are committed to providing transparency in our work. Oversight by several committees ensures community access to information about our work and opportunities for open dialogue. The Institutional Biosafety Committee, which has oversight responsibility for all biosafety programs at Boston University and meets monthly to review protocols submitted for approval, includes public representation. See IBC Minutes.

All incidents inside NEIDL are reported immediately to the Boston Public Health Commission. These incident reports are available to the public quarterly.