Smallpox, an eradicated scourge feared for its weapons potential, has turned up in forgotten vials at a U.S. government facility.
Workers discovered containers of the deadly virus as they emptied out a Food and Drug Administration branch office at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday. Barring any secret stockpile, the last smallpox in existence was thought to be held at tightly guarded facilities in Atlanta and Novosibirsk, Russia.
“The vials appear to date from the 1950s,” according to a CDC statement. “Upon discovery, the vials were immediately secured in a CDC-registered select agent containment laboratory in Bethesda.”
“There is no evidence that any of the vials … has been breached, and on-site biosafety personnel have not identified any infectious exposure risk to lab workers or the public,” the press release says. “Late on July 7, the vials were transported safely and securely with the assistance of federal and local law enforcement agencies to CDC’s high-containment facility in Atlanta.”
Center analysts confirmed the presence of smallpox DNA in the vials, and further tests are expected to determine if the material could still have caused infection.
“This testing could take up to 2 weeks. After completion of this testing, the samples will be destroyed,” the agency said.
“CDC has notified [the World Health Organization] about the discovery, and WHO has been invited to participate in the investigation. If viable smallpox is present, WHO will be invited to witness the destruction of these smallpox materials, as has been the precedent for other cases where smallpox samples have been found outside of the two official repositories.”
What We're Following See More »
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.