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What is a BSL Lab?

By John DeLeonardis and Keith James August 2008 - Health Care Facilities

BSL labs conduct a wide range of research geared to elucidating, finding treatments for and preventing infectious disease. The nature of the research entails significant risks, which must be addressed in the design and operation of the labs, but successful projects can bring enormous rewards. Among the kinds of work occurring in BSL labs:

  • Basic sciences researchers study the fundamental aspects of infectious agents.
  • Diagnostic development organizations produce readily deployable, rapid-response diagnostic tools.
  • Drug discovery firms evaluate the potential of therapeutics as antibiotics and vaccines for treating and preventing infectious diseases.
  • Analytical screening organizations develop tools for rapid screening and identification of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) threats.

Repositories and resource centers maintain agent cultures, searching for disease biomarkers and working to improve methods for agent characterization.


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