A vial containing a potentially harmful virus has gone missing from a laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, officials said.
The missing vial, which contains less than a quarter of a teaspoon of an infectious disease, had been stored in a locked freezer designed to handle biological material safely in the Galveston National Laboratory on UTMB’s campus, officials said.
During a routine internal inspection last week, UTMB officials realized one vial of a virus called Guanarito was not accounted for at the facility.
Scott Weaver, the laboratory’s scientific director, said Guanarito is an emerging disease that has caused deadly outbreaks in Venezuela.
The federal government prioritizes it for research because it has the potential to be used a weapon by terrorists.
On Tuesday, an investigator discovered that only four out of five vials were stored of the virus in the grid system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified immediately.
Lab officials searched but have not been able to locate the other vial.
UTMB said that there was no breach in the facility’s security and no indication that any wrongdoing was involved, according to the statement. Weaver said it was possible a vial could have stuck to a figure or a glove and fallen to the floor of the laboratory.
"The only way it could pose a risk is if it were stolen and that’s unlikely," Weaver said.
This marks the first time that any vial containing a select agent has been unaccounted for at UTMB, officials said.
"We don’t think anything that happened this past week endangers the community," Weaver said. "We think this is an error that any one facility is inevitable and we are going to improve to prevent this in the future."
Officials suspect that the virus was likely destroyed during the normal laboratory decontamination and cleaning process, but the investigation is ongoing.
Spraying Chemtrails to ’Reduce Pollution’ 2014 03 11
The noxious smog choking Chinese cities is globally notorious, with photos showing the grey darkness that swallows citizens as they try to go about their lives. The thick clouds sometimes turn day to night, and wreak havoc for those with respiratory ailments. Reports of how toxic and damaging the smog is to humans and the environment completes the nightmare scenario, ...
Has Blackwater been deployed to Ukraine? 2014 03 11 Notorious U.S. mercenaries ’seen on the streets of flashpoint city’ as Russia claims 300 hired guns have arrived in country
Speculation was growing last night that American mercenaries had been deployed to Donetsk after videos emerged of unidentified armed men in the streets of the eastern Ukrainian city.
At least two videos published on YouTube earlier this week show burly, heavily armed ...
Pyramid of the Sun Turning to Dust 2014 03 10 All we are is dust in the wind, so the saying goes, but it’s troubling when it happens to great ancient monuments that we assume will be around forever.
Pyramid of the Sun, Pirámide del Sol, Teotihuacán, México (Wikimedia Commons)
New Scientist reports that the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico is turning to dust and could collapse:
The Pyramid of the ...
Elephants Never Forget A Voice 2014 03 10
According to a new study, wild elephants are discerning listeners who can differentiate between various human languages, genders, ages, and more. Such surprising skills continue to marvel researchers.
Not all the intellectual surprises are on the large animal front. Research has shown that crows are extremely intelligent, some dogs recognize over a thousand words and have the intellect of a toddler, ...