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Articles on Biosecurity

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Security precautions, thoughtful facilities design, careful training and safe lab practices help keep pathogens isolated. Boston University Photography

We work with dangerous pathogens in a downtown Boston biocontainment lab – here’s why you can feel safe about our research

The microbiologist who directs the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University explains all the biosafety precautions in place that help him feel safer in the lab than out.
In February 2021, a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19 visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Why gain-of-function research matters

The research community is taking a closer look at the lab-leak hypothesis for the origin of COVID-19, prompting discussion about the risks and benefits of engineering viruses.
Eating less animal proteins may help reduce the risk of future zoonotic viruses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

How plant-based diets could help prevent the next COVID-19

Pandemic viruses arise from raising, harvesting and eating animals. Policy strategy for averting the next pandemic should include supporting those already seeking to make plant-based dietary changes.
Hands-on monitoring is key to fighting many plant diseases. Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Why it’s so critical to continuously monitor and manage plant diseases

Plant diseases require as much attention now as ever to ensure that food systems are in place in the next season. There are also serious implications for forestry and the environment more broadly.
Backyard chickens may seem free and happy, but are at increased risk of contracting diseases from wild birds. Bruce Turner/Flickr

Why it’s wrong to blame livestock farms for coronavirus

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some critics say livestock farms promote diseases that spread from animals to humans. An animal scientist explains how well-run farms work to keep that from happening.
Three North American little brown bats with signs of white-nose syndrome, which is virtually certain to hit Australian bats without further action. KDFWR/Terry Derting

Australia’s threatened bats need protection from a silent killer: white-nose syndrome

It’s been a deadly summer for Australia’s wildlife. But beyond the fires, we need to act now to protect bats – which make up a quarter of Australian mammal species – from a silent overseas killer.
Museum collections are repositories of specimens and data, including specimens, tissue samples and vocal recordings. from Wikimedia Commons

Taxonomy, the science of naming things, is under threat

Taxonomists are becoming as rare as some of the species they work on, and this puts museum collections and conservation efforts under threat and increases the risk of biosecurity incursions.

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