From Bio Journal - September 2015
Ebola virus research facility to begin operation in Tokyo
A bioresearch facility for specified type 1 pathogens such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus is to begin operation in Japan for the first time at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) in Musashi-Murayama City, Tokyo. In the 1980s, NIID was completed as a "biosafety level 4 (BSL4)" facility capable of handling the most dangerous pathogens, but has actually carried out research at the lower danger level of BSL3 due to opposition from surrounding residents. The facility was designated as a "facility possessing specified type 1 pathogens, etc." by the Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare on 7 August 2015, having received agreement from the relevant local municipality. Specified type 1 pathogens refers to the five types of virus, the South American hemorrhagic fever virus, the Lassa virus, the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus, the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, and the Marburg virus. However, the facility is already quite decrepit and the danger of biohazards occurring due to leaks of pathogenic microbes into the environment is increasing. At present in Japan, there is a BSL4 facility (not yet in operation) in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the MHLW is moving to establish another facility at Nagasaki University.
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