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COVID Prompts Global Surge in Labs That Handle Dangerous Pathogens

Some scientists fear the possibility of creating pathogens that are more dangerous or of microorganisms escaping.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are afoot to build more than 40 high-level biosafety laboratories around the world, including in India, the Philippines and Singapore. Investments in biosafety labs often follow major epidemics, but some researchers are concerned about the growing number of facilities that will handle some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens.

Some scientists worry about the huge cost of maintaining biosafety-level-3 (BSL-3) and BSL-4 facilities, whereas others fear the risks posed by these labs, such as the possibility of creating pathogens that are more dangerous or of microorganisms escaping.

But researchers in the countries that plan to build these laboratories say they are needed. The lack of high-security labs in some regions became particularly apparent during the pandemic, because work on the live virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, must be done at a BSL-3 or BSL-4 facility.

Read more at Nature

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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