Before the pandemic, there was only a small group of researchers dedicated to studying coronaviruses. Now though, scientists around the world are turning their focus to the virus called SARS-CoV-2.
There’s a snag, however. While researchers can more easily study the genetic sequence of the virus or the epidemiology of the pandemic, conducting a full suite of experiments with the actual virus has to be done in laboratories certified as biosafety level 3, or BSL-3.
Only some facilities have these labs, which need special airflow systems and two sets of self-closing and locking doors, along with regular inspections. There’s not one federal agency that tracks the number of BSL-3 labs, though there are at least 200 in the U.S. that have registered with one government program that tracks some of this research.
Source: STAT News