Davis Bio-Lab Falls to Community Protest

The National Institutes of Health will not fund a Level 4 biodefense research facility at UC Davis. Community group Stop UCD Biolab Now and other opponents had cited risks of accidental release of pathogens such as anthrax, or a security breach, and claimed the lab’s research might include classified bioweapons work. UC denied that charge.
The institutions chosen to receive $120 million to build and operate the labs are Boston University Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. Citizens in Boston are suing under state environmental law, while on October 7, the Texas state attorney general denied a request by bioweapons watchdog Sunshine Project to make some of UTMB’s safety records public. Sunshine Project’s Edward Hammond notes, “Across the country we’re losing access to information, and at the same time more research is being conducted in secret or in quasi-secret. Now that it is clear where all of these facilities are going to be, we can move beyond the not-in-my-backyard and into the more serious business of…making sure that [these programs] do not engage in activities that are dangerous to the public or to US treaty compliance.”

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