Monday, March 25, 2013

Virus Vial Missing From Galveston National Laboratory

I agree with Ryan at Huffington Post, don't panic!
Guanarito Virus Vial Missing From Galveston National Laboratory's Secure Facility
The Huffington Post
By Ryan Grenoble
Posted: 03/25/2013

Don't panic, but a vial of Guanarito virus, capable of causing hemorrhagic fever, has gone missing from a secure research lab in Galveston, Texas.

In a statement released March 23, University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) President David Callender explained "less than a quarter teaspoon" of the virus was unaccounted for from a locked freezer within a secure facility at the Galveston National Laboratory. A routine inspection on March 20 and 21 revealed the virus was missing.

"There was no breach in the facility’s security and there is no indication that any wrongdoing is involved," Callender added in the release. "It is likely, but not confirmed, that the vial was destroyed during normal laboratory sterilization practices."

The laboratory's scientific director, Scott Weaver, told The Houston Chronicle the vial may have become stuck to a glove and fallen onto the floor, where it would have been destroyed as a part of the lab's normal cleaning and decontamination process.

The vial, containing what is commonly referred to as Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever, was stored in a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reserves for Biosafety Level 4 for "dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections."
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