Emergency Drill To Be Conducted at BU Biolab

Next week, officials from Boston University will be testing the safety and emergency measures at the Albany Street biolab for emerging infectious diseases in the South End. 

Starting at 9 a.m. on June 13, BU will conduct a full-scale emergency response drill for laboratory employees, researchers, BU public safety, Boston EMS, Boston Fire, Boston Police and the Boston Public Health Commission at the 620 Albany Street biolab. 

The drill will “simulate a security incident,” according to a statement from Boston University. 

BU said the drill will have no effects on the neighborhood, or impact on traffic in the South End, although neighbors will see many local police, fire and other emergency response vehicles on scene. 

The lab was built four years ago, but has been tied up in legal and other battles over whether or not the lab would be allowed to research the deadly infectious substances it was built to study. 

In March of last year, the facility opened to research BSL-2 level germs, which are less deadly than the intended BSL-3 and BSL-4 substances the facility was built to research. More than 100 residents turned out to protest the lab moving forward with researching the deadliest germs. 

In January, federal regulators announced that the lab poses “minimal risk” to the community. But even with the latest federal approval, the biolab still faces a number of further hurdles to reach approval for researching the most infectious diseases, including approval from the Boston Public Health Commission, and specific projects must gain approval by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“BSL-4 research is not being conducted at the NEIDL now and will not commence until the completion of several regulatory and judicial steps,” said BU spokesperson Tom Testa. 

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