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.