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An independent contractor is completing the development of a draft supplementary risk assessment for the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University Medical Center. Since the earliest planning stages, NIH has been working to ensure that the assessment will be comprehensive and that the concerns of the Boston community will be fully considered. Toward that end, NIH is seeking advice from the independent Blue Ribbon Panel throughout the design and conduct of the study.
NIH has also continually engaged the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Technical Input to review and provide input at key milestones during the development of the draft report. On November 2, 2011, the Blue Ribbon Panel met publicly with the NRC Committee to review a full draft of the supplementary risk assessment. NIH asked the NRC Committee to provide commentary on any scientific and technical issues that it deemed pertinent to the quality of the study. On December 15, the NRC Committee sent a letter to the NIH Director conveying its views on these matters. The letter states, “It is clear that NIH and the Blue Ribbon Panel have gone to unprecedented lengths to improve the risk assessment for the NIEDL and have made substantial advances,” adding that the latest version was a “substantial improvement” over earlier drafts. The NRC Committee proposed a number of minor revisions to the document, but noted that “in general, [the study] addresses the concerns raised in the original NRC review” of the draft risk assessment that preceded this one, adding that “no further advice” from the NRC would be necessary.
NIH and its contractor are revising the draft supplementary risk assessment, taking the NRC’s suggestions into account, and the final draft supplementary risk assessment will be publicly available for comment in early 2012. On February 16, 2012, NIH will hold a public meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, in order to solicit feedback on the next version of the draft supplementary risk assessment. Visit the “Meetings” page of this Web site frequently to obtain the latest information about that meeting.
NIH Blue Ribbon Panel on the National Emerging Infectious Disease Lab at BUMC