A French research laboratory has lost 2,346 vials of the ultra-dangerous SARS virus, according to a statement on the website of the Pasteur Institute. The institute claim that there is no risk to public health from the loss of the stock of SARS, which stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
The institute have now called in the French health and safety department, l’Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé, to help hunt down the 29 boxes of virus’s.
The last major outbreak of SARS in the early 2000s was in Asia and killed 775 people, many thousands more were left desperately ill. SARS kills around one in ten of those infected.
In its statement the institute said: “The tubes concerned have no infectious potential. Independent experts referred by health authorities have qualified the risk as “nil” in regards to available evidence and literature on the survival of the SAS virus.”
The Institut Pasteur, is a generally well respected body that is dedicated to the study of biology, micro-organisms, diseases, and vaccines. It is named after Louis Pasteur, who was credited with some of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine, including pasteurisation and creating vaccines for rabies and anthrax.
They were also the first laboratory to isolate the HIV virus.
The Director General of Institut Pasteur, Christian Bréchot said, “The theory of human error is the most probable, but we are not ruling anything out,”.
French scientists at Institut Pasteur, are used to shocking the public with their practises. They recently “woke up” a 30,000 year old virus they had found in Siberia. The purpose of the research remains unclear and the search for the lost SARS is on going.