Scientists use biosafety labs to study contagious materials safely and effectively. These state-of-the-art labs are designed not only to protect researchers from contamination, but also to prevent microorganisms from entering the environment. Read the NIAID factsheet The Need for Biosafety Laboratory Facilities for further details.
There are four biosafety levels (BSLs) that define proper laboratory techniques, safety equipment, and design, depending on the types of agents being studied:
For more information, take a tour of a BSL-4 lab and read Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, a publication prepared by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Last Updated May 12, 2011