French Lab Loses Over 2,300 SARS Vials

Posted on April 17, 2014

Institut Pasteur in Paris has lost over 2,300 vials of the SARS virus. The deadly SARS coronavirus killed nearly 800 people in Southeast Asia and Canada during in outbreak in 2002 and 2003. The virus killed about 10% of those it infected. The latest cases, reported in May, 2004, resulted from a research lab exposure. The Local reports that 2,349 vials in 29 boxes are missing. The vials were discovered missing during an inventory.

The Institute says the vials are have "no infectious potential" and carry a "nil risk." The Institute says the vials could have been accidentally destroyed, but they cannot confirm this because no record was made.

Update: reports that the refrigerator holding the vials malfunctioned and defrosted in 2012, which the Institute says would have killed the virus. The Institute has asked the authorities to investigate the disappearance of its vials even though it believes human error is most likely reason for the loss of the vials of deadly disease.

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