By Helen Branswell

he director of a Boston University laboratory that conducted potentially controversial research on the viruses that cause Covid-19 said his institution didn’t clear the work with the National Institutes of Health because it wasn’t funded by the federal agency.

Ronald Corley said the research, which was designed to explore what makes some SARS-CoV-2 viruses more pathogenic than others, was paid for with money from the university itself. The work was approved by the institutional biosafety committee of BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, and by Boston’s Public Health Commission.

Scientists from the BU facility posted results from their work in a preprint, a study that has yet to go through peer review. The British tabloid The Daily Mail published an explosive article about the work on Monday, suggesting the group had fabricated a more dangerous version of the SARS-2 Omicron variant.

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