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SARS virus samples missing from Paris lab

Vials of fragments of the SARS virus have disappeared from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which maintains the loss causes no danger to the public.

By Ed Adamczyk
SARS virus samples missing from Paris lab
SARS virus (CC/U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

PARIS , April 17 (UPI) -- Vials of fragments of the SARS virus have disappeared from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which maintains the loss causes no danger to the public.

The Institute, which specializes in the study of biology, micro-organisms and diseases, said 29 boxes containing 2,349 vials of the virus are missing. Director Christian Brechot said human error was the likely reason for the loss, noticed in a routine inventory check, adding “we’ve known from the start that the (missing) samples are harmless.” Tests on the samples, which were collected from people infected with SARS, all proved negative in 2003, and were housed in a refrigerator which malfunctioned in 2012, killing the virus.

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Brechot said independent health authorities were notified after the loss was noticed, and all agreed there was no risk associated with the missing samples.

SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, spread to 30 countries in 2003, infected 8,273 people and killed 775, mostly in Hong Kong.

[FRANCE 24]

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