Threading the NEIDL: TWiV goes inside a BSL-4

7 March 2013

Last fall the science show This Week in Virology teamed up with MicrobeWorld (the public outreach website by the American Society for Microbiology) and Boston University School of Medicine to produce a documentary offering a rarely seen behind-the-scenes view of a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory. Today I am pleased to announce the release of Threading the NEDIL: TWiV goes inside a BSL-4.

Constructed in 2009 in the highly populated South End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) facility contains labs that operate at biosafety levels 2, 3 and 4. Due to its location the NEIDL has faced a raft of legal and regulatory hurdles that have prevented BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs from becoming functional.

Threading the NEIDL is a 1-hour documentary in which Assistant Director Ron Corley along with Elke Mühlberger and Paul Duprex, virologists that will be working the facility, lead the TWiV team on a walkthrough of the BLS-4 laboratory. They explore how the NEDIL is secured from unauthorized entry, what’s like to wear a BLS-4 level safety suit, how the facility is constructed to make it safe, and how workers carry out experiments with highly dangerous viruses such as Ebola virus and Lassa virus without jeopardizing their health or that of the surrounding community.

The documentary is a never before seen look at how one of America’s state of the art biodefense research facilities operates and the security measures put in place to keep it safe, even in the heart of a major urban center.

Threading the NEIDL from microbeworld on Vimeo.

  • Diane

    Huge smile on my face as I start to watch this–wow! Very cool and fun/weird to see you talking rather than just hearing you. Can’t wait to see the inside of this place.

  • kenzibit

    Finally, thought this will never come.

  • Guest_4

    Great video! Thanks a lot for sharing this!

    I agree with Diane, it`s really… strange seeing you guys talking instead of just listening to your voices. But i have to admit i really enjoyed it – you should do this more often!

    Given from what we see here, the only thing that comes to my mind is that this building is SAFE! Not only the outer perimeter security, but especially the system within a system approach and all the other precautions show that people have gone great lengths to ensure the safety of the labs and make sure nothing unwanted will ever leave this building. I would advise everybody who is in doubt of that to go and watch this video! I really hope that the BSL 4 research can be started soon, because I am sure it will help us to better understand what makes Ebola and Lassa so pathogenic and how we can combat these viruses.

  • Ricardo Magalhaes

    Very good. Full of information. I don’t see myself inside a BSL 4, but now, I can talk about details I would never imagine. My students will appreciate. Hopefully they will see it too.
    Congratulations TWIV team.

  • Mohsan

    What the hell—From their voices i had totally different images of Alan and Rich in my mind. Now i am even more curious to see Dickson.
    Very informative episode. Thanks for putting it together.

  • Asal

    Wow!! A fantastic video. Reading about BSL4 is nothing compared to watching this video. Thank you for sharing it.