Skip to comments.Vials of Smallpox Virus Found in Unapproved Maryland Lab
Posted on 07/08/2014 10:35:48 AM PDT by Second Amendment First
The National Institutes of Health announced today that vials of the virus that causes smallpox were found in a laboratory on its Bethesda, Maryland, campus, which was unequipped and unapproved to handle the deadly pathogen.
Because its so infectious, the smallpox virus is considered a bioterrorism threat and is only permitted in two labs in the world: One at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Atlanta headquarters and another at the VECTOR Institute in Russia. The newly discovered vials violate an international agreement reached in 1979 aimed at keeping the virus eradicated while allowing some scientists to continue studying it.
Its unclear how long the vials had been in the Bethesda labs storage room, which is kept at 5 degrees Fahrenheit. But the boxes holding them may date back to the 1950s, according to CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.
At the end of the day, we dont know why [the vials] showed up, Skinner said, adding that the samples do not pose any threat to public health.
Scientists found six freeze-dried vials labeled as containing variola the virus that causes smallpox and 10 other vials with unclear labeling information in a cold storage room that is owned by the Food and Drug Administration on the NIHs Bethesda campus while preparing for the laboratorys upcoming move to FDAs main campus, according to Dr. Steven Monroe, who directs the CDCs division of high consequence pathogens and pathology.
Its pretty hardy as viruses go, particularly in the freeze-dried state, Monroe said of the variola virus. That could certainly prolong viability.
The vials were on their sides in a cardboard box packed with cotton balls and index cards to hold them in place, Monroe said, adding that he was not aware of any documents accompanying the vials.
The CDC was informed of the discovery July 1 and sent a three-person team to transport the vials via a government plane to its main campus in Atlanta for further testing, Monroe said.
Of the 16 vials, only the six labeled for variola tested positive for variola DNA, according to Monroe. The contents of the vials are now being tested in cell culture to determine if any of the virus samples are still infectious. Once that process is complete, they will be destroyed, Monroe said.
Smallpox killed a third of those who contracted it for about 3,000 years until it was declared globally eradicated by routine vaccination in 1979, according to the World Health Organization. Were not even vaccinated for it anymore.
Once it was considered eradicated, the World Health Assembly agreed that all labs would either destroy their stockpiles of the virus or send them to one of two labs for study. Earlier this year at the World Health Assembly, scientists voted not to destroy the remaining smallpox stockpiles.
Monroe said no other smallpox vials had turned up unexpectedly since the 1979 agreement.
We cant say with 100 percent certainty there are no other vials like this, he said.
WHO has been notified of the discovery and will send a representative to witness the destroying of the virus.
What is far more troubling is the fact that the Russians have vials of smallpox.
Any bets on which will kill off the un-inoculated public first?
Smallpox, or AIDS infected blood from Sodomite blood donations.
Or lead from brown shirts...
Hmm...Let’s see. Could this “discovery” possibly be a cover story so that when we are hit with an attack of smallpox, we will think that somehow the enemy got it through such an unauthorized lab?
I am reminded of the persecution of Wen Ho Lee (sp?) at the Los Alamos lab. Clinton sent Bill Richardson there to investigate the “theft” of nuclear secrets. But it was all just to cover up Clinton’s sale of nuclear secrets to the Chinese. Lee was framed to cover up the sale.
Oh, how I hate that I have become a conspiracy nut!
I feel safer knowing our government is trying so hard to protect us.
Sometimes it’s just the carelessness or ineptness of government employees, like the scientists exposed to anthrax or the spill of plutonium in Boulder.
We have eradicated Smallpox throughout the world....except for this closet
NIH, not any private college, possessed the virus. Curious that the samples were not labeled or identified in the freezer in which they were stored. I maintained a pathogen freezer once and all inside it had to be inventoried yearly and accounted. This is suspicious or highly incompetent.
In obamaworld everything is coming out of the closet.
They were in a cardboard box in a closet, not even a freezer. Of course the government can violate any and all laws they want free of accountability. One can only imagine what would have happened to a private company doing something similar.
The article says they were in a cold storage unit kept at 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Did I miss something?
My error. I was thinking of an earlier story I read which may have been wrong. Thanks for the correction.
The article was later modified to add the second sentence.
From what I hear they have far deadlier stuff. Blackpox for instance. And far less security.
True. And before the progressives took over I would have applied Occam’s razor to such a situation. Now....
Maryland "Freak State" PING!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.