Friday, January 15, 2010

Where the Bad Things Are: New bio lab studies pathogens

By Mike Martin for Illumination
In a world plagued by the threat of pandemic influenza, flesh-eating bacteria, multi-drug resistant infections, and potential terror attacks using exotic contagions, the construction of a “biocontainment laboratory” at the University of Missouri, Columbia (MU) is bound to conjure notions of moon-suited scientists wearing eerie facemasks with military escorts hovering nearby.
It’s the sort of image author Michael Crichton made famous forty years ago this year, with his hit novel-turned-movie, The Andromeda Strain, about a deadly virus from outer space that stumps a group of scientists after wiping out a desert town.
Rest assured, say researchers at MU’s facility, there is nothing to fear — except perhaps the costs of not investigating the potentially deadly pathogens safely contained with the $18-million Regional Biocontainment Laboratory.

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