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Federal Judge OKs Boston University Infectious Disease Lab

BOSTON — A federal judge has given Boston University approval to open a research lab that would study some of the world’s deadliest pathogens.

The lab has been opposed by residents of the city’s South End neighborhood for years, but a judge in her decision Monday said public risk from the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory is “extremely low or beyond reasonably foreseeable.”

The Boston University National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) on Albany Street. (Lynn Jolicoeur for WBUR)

The Boston University National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) on Albany Street. (Lynn Jolicoeur/WBUR)

The lab now needs a final review from the Boston Public Health Commission.

Some portions of the lab have already opened to study less dangerous germs.

John R. Murphy, director of the lab, says he is pleased that the federal court “went through each and every objection of the plaintiffs in a methodical way and found that they were not warranted.”

“The court is saying that it’s reasonable for the [National Institutes of Health] to determine that research using these types of pathogens can be done safely at the NEIDL,” Murphy said. “This is one more step to the opening of the lab.”

The Conservation Law Foundation, which opposes the lab, says it is weighing it options and may appeal.

With reporting from the Associated Press and BU Today.

Earlier:

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