So remember how scientists found unapproved vials of smallpox in a forgotten storage room a few weeks ago? Turns out, they weren’t quite finished yet. Now, officials have revealed they have actually uncovered over 300 vials of pathogens including dengue, influenza and spotted fever. Whoops.
The Washington Post is reporting that the discovery, which included 327 vials of dangerous pathogens in total, came from the same small-pox-loaded storage room that had been forgotten for nearly 50 years. And while the smallpox is still the most unsettling of the uncovered diseases, these additional finds aren’t helping our peace of mind.
Best estimates place the vial’s origins between 1946 and 1964 “when standards for work with and storage of biological specimens were very different from those used today.” In a statement, Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, explained:
The reasons why these samples went unnoticed for this long is something that we’re actively trying to understand. Our goal is to understand what happened and take the appropriate actions to make sure something like this never happens again.
At this time, 32 of the samples have already been destroyed while 300 have been shipped off to the Department of Homeland Security’s National Bioforensic Analysis Center.
Thus far, none of the samples have showed any signs of leakage, and there’s no evidence to imply that anyone’s been exposed to the pathogens themselves. Still, we recommend staying as far away from that storage as possible. Or, better yet — all storage rooms. Trust no one. [ The Washington Post]
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