BOSTON (AP) — A state agency has given Boston University preliminary approval to open an infectious disease research lab that has sparked years of opposition from neighborhood residents.

The research would be restricted at least initially to diseases that are considered less hazardous. The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory was originally envisioned as a facility where some of the world’s most dangerous germs, including Ebola and plague, would be studied.

Legal challenges have kept the 192,000-square-foot building in Boston’s South End neighborhood largely empty for the last three years.

The Boston Globe reports that the state office of Energy and Environmental Affairs granted preliminary approval for the lab to open, but a two-week public comment period is needed before a final decision is made.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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