By Helen Branswell

Research at Boston University that involved testing a lab-made hybrid version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is garnering heated headlines alleging the scientists involved could have unleashed a new pathogen.

There is no evidence the work, performed under biosecurity level 3 precautions in BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, was conducted improperly or unsafely. In fact, it was approved by an internal biosafety review committee and Boston’s Public Health Commission, the university said Monday night.

But it has become apparent that the research team did not clear the work with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which was one of the funders of the project. The agency indicated it is going to be looking for some answers as to why it first learned of the work through media reports.

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