Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

National Research Council

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Board on Life Sciences

500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Phone: 202 334 2187 Fax: 202 334 1289

April 20, 2010

Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.


National Institutes of Health

Building 1 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Maryland 20892

Dear Dr. Collins:

At your request, the National Research Council (NRC)1 reconvened its Committee on Technical Input on Any Additional Studies to Assess Risk Associated with Operation of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL), Boston University2 to provide you and your Blue Ribbon Panel with further technical input on the scope and design of any additional studies that may be needed to assess the risks associated with the siting and operation of the NEIDL.

In particular, you asked the NRC committee to meet with the NIH Blue Ribbon Panel in public at key milestones in the development of the draft risk assessment. To this end, the NRC committee met in open session with the Blue Ribbon Panel on March 19, 2010 to hear presentations by NIH’s contractors on the approaches they intend to take in conducting the risk assessment. Following the open meeting, the NRC committee met in closed session to prepare this brief letter report on the plan for the supplementary risk analyses, focusing on whether the analyses are scientifically and technically sound in general and whether they address the concerns raised by the NRC in its first two letter reports. The committee’s full statement of task, as developed with your office, is provided in the main body of this report.

The committee heard plans, but not yet results. In general, the NRC committee finds the proposed approaches to conducting the risk assessment suitable and well planned. The agents selected for analysis are appropriate and comprehensive, and the expertise available on and to the assessment team is strong. NIH and its contractor (Tetra Tech) appear to recognize data


The principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.


A list of committee members and their biographies is included as Attachment A.

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