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.
Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year 2013’ 2013 12 11
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff, elected nine months ago, was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2013, leaving whistleblower Edward Snowden in second place, the magazine revealed on Wednesday.
The iconic title goes each year to the one chosen by prominent US magazine Time as the individual who had the most influence on the world and news over ...
Equal Opportunity Killing 2013 12 11 Nancy Pelosi called it the “selfie of the year": the group snapshot of the first four women to make it through Marine infantry training.
"Fearless," as Pelosi describes them. "Badasses," as onlookers have labeled them. Here is an acerbic quote from an article on Gawker:
These women have now definitively proven what fatuous Congressional oldsters for so long prevented other women from ...
(NOOOOOOOO!) JPMorgan files patent for Bitcoin-style payment system 2013 12 11
These guys never stop. I respect that about JP (in the way that I respect the Empire in Star Wars) and there is something to be said for an idea so disruptive that it attracts the sharks at JP.
But given this, if one doesn’t trust Bitcoin, don’t even consider trusting JPMorgan’s version of it.
(From The FT)
JPMorgan’s proposed system involves creating ...
New ‘Revelations’ on Kenya Mall Massacre: There were only FOUR shooters – who escaped alive 2013 12 11 21st Century Wire says…
From the onset, the Kenya Mall Massacre was riddled with odd circumstances and dramatised media coverage, so much so that it is very difficult not to skeptical about the official narrative of what happened, and who was involved. That narrative continues to unravel…
As 21Wire reported in late September, the attack which took place at the Westfields Shopping ...
Record outdoor radiation level that ‘can kill in 20 min’ detected at Fukushima 2013 12 11 Outdoor radiation levels have reached their highest at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant,warns the operator company.Radiation found in an area near a steel pipe that connects reactor buildings could kill an exposed person in 20 minutes,local media reported.
The plant’s operator and the utility responsible for the clean-up Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) detected record radiation levels on a duct which connects ...