Old Vials of Smallpox Found, says CDC
Lately, employees at the National Institutes of Health have found some old vials of smallpox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement on Tuesday that the vials are considered to be dating back to the 1950s.
Scientists found the vials while they were doing preparations to move a lab from the Food and Drug Administration's Bethesda, Maryland, to another location. The vials were spotted in unused parts of a storeroom.
As soon as the vials were found, scientists put them in a containment lab. On July 1, scientists informed the Division of Select Agents and Toxins about the findings.
The CDC said for now, there is no evidence that vials have been breached and any worker has been affected by it. "There is no evidence that any of the vials labeled variola has been breached, and onsite biosafety personnel have not identified any infectious exposure risk to lab workers or the public", said the US agency.
On Monday, the law enforcement agencies took the vials to DC's high-containment facility in Atlanta. Tests were carried out and it has been confirmed that there were variola virus DNA in the vials. Scientists said they would carry out more tests to check whether the vials can grow in tissue culture. Once the tests are done, the CDC will destroy the samples.
The CDC has informed about the finding to the World Health Organization and has invited the WHO to see the destruction of the vials. The FBI is carrying out the investigation to know how the vials reached there.
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