RealNews

BU is seen as US choice to build, run bioterror lab

Federal health officials are expected to announce today that Boston University Medical Center has won a hard-fought national competition to build and run a high-security bioterror defense laboratory in the heart of the South End, a project with the promise of generating $1.6 billion in research grants, according to sources knowledgeable about the selection. The facility, known as a Biosafety Level 4 lab, would be a cornerstone in the Bush administration’s expanding campaign to prepare for potential acts of bioterrorism, housing hundreds of scientists as they hunt for vaccines and treatments against the deadliest germs and viruses known to mankind, including anthrax, plague, and smallpox. The lab would be unlike anything Boston’s medical community has ever seen, with extraordinary measures taken to assure that lethal agents cannot escape. At the nation’s three operational Level 4 research centers, armed guards monitor checkpoints, labyrinths of hallways make quick escape impossible, and scientists in laboratory space suits manipulate mechanical hands to work with deadly compounds. Full Story

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