Safety sweep of the NIH reveals presence of five dangerous toxic samples
In July 2014, a number of unauthorised smallpox samples were discovered at the NIH’s headquarters in Bethseda, Maryland. This discovery spurred on a safety sweep of the NIH headquarters to verify the presence of any other unauthorised biological samples and toxins.
On the 5th of September, it was first announced that five toxic samples were discovered in the NIH sweep. These included ricin, a botulism causing pathogen, plague causing pathogens and even samples of melioidosis, which causes a tropical disease.
Some of these samples have been present in the NIH labs for a long period of time, particularly the samples of ricin, which have been there since 1914. Luckily when the samples were found, they were all sealed and didn’t appear to have threatened anyone working in the labs.
None of these samples are as dangerous as the smallpox vials that were found in July, however, ricin is a highly toxic and lethal substance found in the seeds of castor oil plants.
As September has been declared ‘National Biosafety Stewardship Month’ by the NIH, other private laboratories and universities are being encouraged to search through their labs to identify an toxic unauthorised substances that may have been forgotten over time.
Read more about it here: NIH Finds Even More Deadly Disease Samples Just Sitting Around