Boston Debates Banning Deadliest Pathogens From New Biolab

None

U.S. military biological laboratory personnel undergo decontamination during a 2007 exercise in California. Boston is set to convene a hearing this week on whether to ban the study of highly sensitive disease agents at a recently completed Boston University laboratory.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
April 14, 2014, 10:36 a.m.

Bo­ston is set this week to de­bate wheth­er to ban a new, down­town biode­fense labor­at­ory from study­ing some of the world’s dead­li­est dis­ease agents.

A Wed­nes­day city coun­cil hear­ing is ex­pec­ted to con­sider a pro­posed city­wide pro­hib­i­tion on so-called “Biosafety Level 4” re­search, which can in­volve dis­eases for which there are no known cures. The ini­ti­at­ive marks the latest loc­al push­back against Bo­ston Uni­versity’s ef­fort to pur­sue the sens­it­ive patho­gen stud­ies at its re­cently com­pleted Na­tion­al Emer­ging In­fec­tious Dis­eases Labor­at­or­ies.

In his draft or­din­ance, Coun­cilor Charles Yan­cey said con­duct­ing such re­search at the site could en­able an agent such as Ebola or Mar­burg to es­cape in­to the city, either by ac­ci­dent or de­lib­er­ate ac­tion.

“I am not con­vinced we really need to in­vite that pos­sib­il­ity to the city of Bo­ston,” Yan­cey told the Bo­ston Globe in re­marks pub­lished in a Sunday ed­it­or­i­al.

Bo­ston Uni­versity has cri­ti­cized the ra­tionale be­hind the coun­cil meas­ure, ar­guing that the labor­at­ory’s se­cur­ity is strin­gent and any sens­it­ive re­search jus­ti­fied by the need to pre­pare against leth­al dis­ease agents.

A four-year risk study “con­sidered hun­dreds of pos­sible scen­ari­os that could po­ten­tially res­ult in an ex­pos­ure of a work­er to a patho­gen, or the re­lease of a bio­lo­gic­al agent [and] demon­strated con­clus­ively that BSL-4 labor­at­or­ies — built with mul­tiple backup re­dund­an­cies for its op­er­a­tions sys­tems — are ex­tremely safe,” the uni­versity said in a state­ment last month.

Sunday’s Globe ed­it­or­i­al sides with the school, and ar­gues that the site’s loc­a­tion would fa­cil­it­ate col­lab­or­a­tion with ex­perts throughout the re­gion.

“It’s un­der­stand­able why crit­ics of the bio­lab might prefer that the re­search take place in an isol­ated fa­cil­ity … [but that] would im­pede sci­ent­ists’ abil­ity to learn from one an­oth­er,” the news­pa­per said.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×