A lab worker has found out multiple frozen vials that have been labeled as smallpox while clearing out a freezer in a Pennsylvania vaccine research facility. A recent report has revealed that the incident has led to an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As per the experts, only two laboratories in the world, one lab certified by the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, and another Cold War-era bioweapons lab in Russia can stock up samples of the dangerous virus. In the recent event, a sum of 15 vials has been recovered from the facility. Around five of them have been marked as smallpox and 10 of them have been tagged as vaccinia, which is a live virus used in the smallpox vaccine. The Department of Homeland Security leadership has issued an ‘officially use only’ alert about the incident. In the alert, health experts have informed that these vials have been found in the Merck facility in Montgomery County. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that there is no sign that anyone has been exposed to the vials that have been labeled as smallpox. The officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have informed that the staff member from the vaccine research facility in Pennsylvania who has found the vials has been wearing gloves and a face mask while handling them.
Health experts have said that smallpox is a very infectious illness that is led by the virus known as variola. They have said that the ailment is considered one of the most destructive diseases that are known to the human race. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that millions of people have lost their lives due to the disease prior to the world’s most thriving vaccine campaign that has resulted in the elimination of the illness in 1980. Health experts from the WHO have informed that smallpox is the only contagious infection that has been fully eliminated from the planet. As per the data, the last known case of smallpox has been reported in Somalia in 1977. Federal health officials have confirmed that the inquiry set up by the CDC and FBI (Federal Bureau Of Investigation)has resulted in a lockdown of the research facility in Pennsylvania. However, now, the lockdown has been revoked. Health officials from the CDC have visited the research center to recover the vials. They have sent the vials to another facility for further testing. As per the health officials, this is not the first incident where vials labeled as smallpox have been found in a research facility; earlier, staff members of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well have found six vials that have been tagged as smallpox and kept in a storage room in 2014.
After an inquiry into the incident, federal health officials from the CDC have recently confirmed that vials labeled as smallpox that have been identified by a lab worker in a vaccine research lab in Pennsylvania have been found to have no trace of the virus that leads to smallpox. They have said that further testing has confirmed that the vials contain a virus known as vaccinia that is used in smallpox shots. These vials do not carry the variola virus that leads to the deadly disease. However, it is still unclear why these vials tagged as smallpox have been kept in the freezer at the vaccine research center. The officials from CDC have said that they are in constant contact with state and local health authorities, the World Health Organization (WHO), and law enforcement to share the findings of testing conducted on the vials. The disease leads to symptoms like high fever, body aches, spots, and blisters that can cause pitted scars among people who are infected with smallpox. The United States has finished its routine childhood vaccination drive against the deadly illness in the early 1970s. As per the data, the last known case of smallpox has been found in 1949 in the US. In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the disease has been fully eliminated from the planet. The authorities from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have pointed out that the main goal of smallpox research in the United States is to develop new vaccines, treatments, diagnostic screenings, and medicines to shield people against the deadly disease smallpox in the incident that might take place as a driving force of bioterrorism.