Security concerns at laboratories doing research on infectious diseases mean that most of us will never get a look at the inner workings of such labs, the most secure designated as Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4). But because its BSL-4 lab is not yet operational, the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories on the Medical Campus has welcomed a professional video team to tour its inner sanctum. The result is Threading the NEIDL, a one-hour documentary posted today on This Week in Virology, an American Society for Microbiology webcast with about 100,000 regular viewers.
“There is no other facility in the United States that we could have toured in this manner,” says TWIV host Vincent Racaniello. NEIDL is one of just two BSL-4 labs based at academic centers. The second academic facility is at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and others are operated by the National Institutes of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I was amazed at the NEIDL,” says Racaniello, who toured the $200 million facility with cohosts Alan Dove and Rich Condit. “The safeguards in place are impressive, and after touring the NEIDL, I was convinced that it is the safest place on Earth to work on dangerous viruses like Ebola and Lassa.”
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