BOSTON (AP) – The opening of a research laboratory being built to study the world’s deadliest germs and viruses will be delayed while federal health authorities conduct a more extensive environmental review of the facility.

According to documents filed in federal court, Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories in the city’s South End will now open in April 2009 rather than this fall as originally anticipated.

The controversial lab had faced harsh criticism from nearby residents and environmentalists.

An independent panel of scientists concluded in November that the National Institutes of Health’s review “was not sound and credible” and did not adequately address the consequences of dangerous germs escaping from the lab.

Information from: The Boston Globe,

AP-ES-02-01-08 0750EST

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