Why are BSL 4 laboratories located in urban centers?

in GEMS2 years ago

After the decree of the pandemic by the new coronavirus, the focus of attention was obtained by the laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology - China, because according to the international community, there is a probability that Covid-19 has escaped from this important laboratory, despite the fact that its biosafety level is located within the BSL 4 category.

Having said this, and to provide some context, it is important to mention that laboratories on a global scale with biosafety within the BSL 4 category are those spaces for scientific research purposes where highly dangerous exotic microorganisms are handled, and which represent a great risk for causing deadly diseases, which can be transmitted via aerosol and for which there is no known vaccine or therapy.

Fig. 2 In BSL 4 laboratories, these are spaces for scientific research purposes where highly dangerous exotic microorganisms are handled. Public domain image, Author: Fernandozhiminaicela, 2020

However, before answering the question implicit in the title of this publication, it is first necessary to present a summary of the diseases related to highly dangerous exotic microorganisms that are handled in BSL 4 laboratories, such as Ebola, smallpox, Hantavirus, Lassa fever, Marburg hemorrhagic fever, among others of equal or greater danger.

Consequently, if BSL 4 laboratories with a high level of biosafety are international spaces to carry out major research on dangerous pathogens in a pure, active state and in high concentrations, how can we explain that three quarters of these modern laboratories in the world are located in urban centers?.

Although the above question seeks an organic interaction with all those users who show some concern when reading this article, it is worth mentioning that the question arises from the simple common sense that it is a serious mistake to build these laboratories in urban centers, an element that provides high probabilities that these highly transmissible pathogens come into contact and infect the people who coexist in these urban areas.

I would like to know what you think.


[1] Boeckel T The Nosoi commute: a spatial perspective on the rise of BSL-4 laboratories in cities. Article: Online Access

[2] Stefano M Containing the accidental laboratory escape of potential pandemic influenza viruses. Article: Online Access


The cover image was designed by the author: @lupafilotaxia, incorporating the public domain image background: PixxlTeufel, 2020 Free-Photos, 2012 Free-Photos, 2016


Hello friend, I share your opinion the location of facilities should be governed by the regulations of urban development that includes the purpose and use of the facilities, and the risks and impacts on the environment.

Generally, overpopulation and unplanned urban growth is often cited as one of the reasons for such situations, which are risky in urban centers.

It is important to consider the location of such laboratories, and take the necessary measures to avoid unfortunate situations.