One of the two places where samples of smallpox are kept has just undergone an explosion in Russia: what we know so far

Officially, there are only two places in the world where the smallpox virus survives alongside hundreds of deadly viruses, bacteria, and diseases: the first is the headquarters of the United States Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and the second, the Center State Research in Virology and Biotechnology twelve kilometers from Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia: the famous Vector.

And yesterday, at 4:30 pm, a gas explosion caused a fire in the second. According to the Russian authorities, there were no biohazardous substances in the affected rooms, and therefore there is no safety issue or cause for alarm. Despite all this, some collective hysteria has been unleashed on the Internet. This is what we know.

There is no reason for concern

Louis Reed

Vector was one of the key centers of biological weapons research during the Cold War and today it is a benchmark for infectious diseases in Russia. It houses in its facilities ** one of the largest collections of diseases in the world. **

As explained by the center itself, the explosion took place during the repairs of a fifth floor sanitary inspection room. The official media have confirmed that there are no security commitments. The fire was treated as a "major incident" and required the intervention of 13 fire trucks and 38 professionals.

Although the news of the problem in Vector does not come at the best time (after the vaudeville of the August nuclear explosion), security measures have been tightening since in 2004, a researcher at the Center died after accidentally pricking herself with a needle. contaminated by the Ebola virus. The same WHO has recognized the center as biosafety level 4, the highest that exists. For now there is no reason for concern.

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