Earlier this week, we shared that Stanford researchers have identified Ebola's entry point into human cells. This striking image, from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, shows a CDC microbiologist looking out from inside the decontamination shower in a biosafety level 4 laboratory, where pathogens such as ebola are studied. The CDC explains:
The Special Pathogens Branch's (SPB) charter is the study of highly infectious viruses, many of them causing hemorrhagic manifestations in humans. Daily work involves the investigation of viruses such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Marburg hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Rift valley fever virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, arenaviruses and hantaviruses, and other recently identified and emerging viral diseases.
Almost all of these viruses are classified as Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) pathogens and as such must be handled in special facilities designed to contain them safely. SPB operates one of the world's few BSL-4 laboratories. In addition, SPB provides technical and research/diagnostic materials to many international laboratories and collaborators. SBP staff members are trained to respond to global disease outbreaks and to provide assistance for disease detection and control measures.