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Smallpox virus found in vials at lab near Philadelphia


susieice
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Five vials marked as smallpox was found at a Merck lab in suburban Philadelphia. Only two places in the world are allowed to possess vials that contain smallpox. One is the CDC, the other in Russia. They were "incidently discovered" by a worker and no one knows why those vials were there. Merck says they don't know where the vials came from either. The frozen vials were found by a lab worker who was cleaning out a freezer in the facility that conducts vaccine research. No one is believed to have been exposed to them. The worker who made the discovery was masked and wearing gloves. It is also unknown just when the discovery was made. 6ABC News, the local Philadelphia news channel, says there were 15 questionable vials in all. I didn't quote everything in the article.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/smallpox-vials-found-at-merck-lab-in-suburban-philadelphia-facility/3050775/

https://6abc.com/smallpox-vials-cdc-vaccine-research-pennsylvania-world-health-organization/11245077/

After the discovery, an alert went out to the Department of Homeland Security. Upper Gwynedd Township police received a notification Tuesday morning.

Montgomery County officials also received an alert from the Pennsylvania Department of Health stating, "There were reportedly a total of 15 questionable vials. Five of the vials were labeled as "smallpox" and ten were labeled as "vaccinia."

Dr. Thersa Sweet with Drexel University's Department of Public Health said she was shocked.

"Frankly, I'm surprised this would happen at some place like Merck. All of the vials of smallpox that were out in virologists' freezers were supposed to be disposed of once the disease was considered eradicated."
"If I had to guess, I would think these vials perhaps were in a freezer that was much older and was overlooked," said Sweet, who does not have an affiliation with the pharmaceutical giant.
 
In 2014, employees of the National Institutes of Health found six vials of smallpox in an unused storage room as they packed up a lab at the NIH's Bethesda, Maryland, campus to move it. Two of the vials contained viable virus. The CDC said at the time there was no evidence anyone had been exposed to the contents of any of the vials.
 
Edited by susieice
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56 minutes ago, susieice said:

Five vials marked as smallpox was found at a Merck lab in suburban Philadelphia. Only two places in the world are allowed to possess vials that contain smallpox. One is the CDC, the other in Russia. They were "incidently discovered" by a worker and no one knows why those vials were there. Merck says they don't know where the vials came from either. The frozen vials were found by a lab worker who was cleaning out a freezer in the facility that conducts vaccine research. No one is believed to have been exposed to them. The worker who made the discovery was masked and wearing gloves. It is also unknown just when the discovery was made. 6ABC News, the local Philadelphia news channel, says there were 15 questionable vials in all. I didn't quote everything in the article.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/smallpox-vials-found-at-merck-lab-in-suburban-philadelphia-facility/3050775/

https://6abc.com/smallpox-vials-cdc-vaccine-research-pennsylvania-world-health-organization/11245077/

After the discovery, an alert went out to the Department of Homeland Security. Upper Gwynedd Township police received a notification Tuesday morning.

Montgomery County officials also received an alert from the Pennsylvania Department of Health stating, "There were reportedly a total of 15 questionable vials. Five of the vials were labeled as "smallpox" and ten were labeled as "vaccinia."

Dr. Thersa Sweet with Drexel University's Department of Public Health said she was shocked.

"Frankly, I'm surprised this would happen at some place like Merck. All of the vials of smallpox that were out in virologists' freezers were supposed to be disposed of once the disease was considered eradicated."
"If I had to guess, I would think these vials perhaps were in a freezer that was much older and was overlooked," said Sweet, who does not have an affiliation with the pharmaceutical giant.
 
In 2014, employees of the National Institutes of Health found six vials of smallpox in an unused storage room as they packed up a lab at the NIH's Bethesda, Maryland, campus to move it. Two of the vials contained viable virus. The CDC said at the time there was no evidence anyone had been exposed to the contents of any of the vials.
 

And they say that Chinese labs are unsafe, lol ! What a joke...

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39 minutes ago, Jon the frog said:

And they say that Chinese labs are unsafe, lol ! What a joke...

I don't trust any labs or what they may contain.

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19 minutes ago, aztek said:

are we sure it was an accident?

According to Merck, they have no idea how it got there. All labs except 4 had to destroy what virus they had when smallpox was ruled eradicated by WHO, which was in 1980. The last known case in the world was in 1972. The one in England and the one in South Africa then destroyed theirs a few years later or transferred it to the remaining 2 labs that are the only ones who are supposed to be in possession of it. This is all in the articles.

That was 1980. It's now 2021. Are they saying that Merck never inventoried or cleaned this freezer in 41 years? I find that kind of hard to believe, but it's possible. There's a serious investigation being done and Merck is co-operating, but as of now, no one knows where it came from or how it got there.

Personally, I think all remaining smallpox virus should be destroyed. Now. This is scary and who knows where else some could be. Hidden in the back of a freezer somewhere. The articles said some was found and destroyed in 2014.

Edited by susieice
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5 minutes ago, Freez1 said:

And people wonder how a deadly virus escapes or gets developed. We are surrounded by idiots.

We're surrounded by a bunch of people that are too smart in how to engineer and mutate and too stupid to know not to. How many countries, really!, are developing biological mutations? Not even necessarily weapons. Science is a wonderful thing and great minds have learned and taught us a lot, but do they ever think with common sense? 

Do they ever think that if they do develop a biological weapon that will give them world domination, there's a real good chance it's going to wipe them out too? Sorry to keep editing, but I'm on a roll here. 

Edited by susieice
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In the words of an internet meme: BURN IT...WITH FIRE! These smallpox vials shouldn't be in possession of anyone outside the CDC, this is a very troubling news story. We're trying to end a pandemic by a SARS coronavirus, and we don't want to deal with a revival of resurgent smallpox.

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6 minutes ago, susieice said:

We're surrounded by a bunch of people that are too smart in how to engineer and mutate and too stupid to know not to. How many countries, really!, are developing biological mutations? Not even necessarily weapons. Science is a wonderful thing and great minds have learned and taught us a lot, but do they ever think with common sense? 

Do they ever think that if they do develop a biological weapon that will give them world domination, there's a real good chance it's going to wipe them out too? Sorry to keep editing, but I'm on a roll here. 

You go Susieice. But what if the develop the biological weapon and the antidote to protect themselves ? Scary ****.  

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1 minute ago, Solipsi Rai said:

In the words of an internet meme: BURN IT...WITH FIRE! These smallpox vials shouldn't be in possession of anyone outside the CDC, this is a very troubling news story. We're trying to end a pandemic by a SARS coronavirus, and we don't want to deal with a revival of resurgent smallpox.

I agree 100% but I don't think there should be smallpox vials anywhere, including the CDC and this lab in Russia. Destroy it for good! Who knows how many other labs all over the world still have it?

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4 minutes ago, thedutchiedutch said:

You go Susieice. But what if the develop the biological weapon and the antidote to protect themselves ? Scary ****.  

This is so true dutchie. If they can develop the antidote, but I doubt the common people would ever get it. Someone would notice a mass innoculation program going on somewhere. They'll be very intelligent and very alone.

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Just now, susieice said:

This is so true dutchie. If they can develop the antidote, but I doubt the common people would ever get it. Someone would notice a mass innoculation program going on somewhere. They'll be very intelligent and very alone.

Agreed. 

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The Philadelphia Inquirer goes a little more in depth. There are 3 Merck facilities around the city of Philadelphia. Nothing has been said about which one the vials were found in or a time given of when the vials were found. They are saying there is no chance that anyone, including the lab worker who found them, may have been infected. The vials were intact. But why were they still there after all those years? That's what I want to know.

 https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/smallpox-philadelphia-montgomery-vaccine-research-20211117.html

And then they end the article with this....

“For the general public there is no basis for being worried, even a small amount,” he said.

The issue with the discovery of the samples was lax security rather than public safety, said Ebright. While the vials themselves do not pose a risk of triggering an outbreak, their storage at the Pennsylvania facility could have been discovered and taken by someone with plans of a bioterrorist attack, he said.

But in the unlikely event of an outbreak, the U.S. government — along with countries across the globe — has a stockpile of smallpox vaccines, said Ebright.

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14 minutes ago, Gromdor said:

Silly question-  Has anyone confirmed that the vials actually contain smallpox?

 

I would hope they would have done that before they alerted the public. Probably the CDC would have done that. I don't think they'd release a report like this if they weren't sure. No one has said when these vials were found. There were 5 vials marked smallpox and 10 vials marked as vaccinia, whatever that is. Philadelphia news is coming on now. I watch 6ABC. They'll probably say something tonight.

Looking around, I found that I was wrong about when the last case of smallpox occurred. I do want to correct myself. I'll just put it here.

When was the last case of smallpox found?
 
 
The last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977. In 1980 WHO declared smallpox eradicated – the only infectious disease to achieve this distinction. This remains among the most notable and profound public health successes in history.
Edited by susieice
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The news just said the vials were found on Monday. 

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2 hours ago, susieice said:

This is so true dutchie. If they can develop the antidote, but I doubt the common people would ever get it. Someone would notice a mass innoculation program going on somewhere. They'll be very intelligent and very alone.

Don't people already get smallpox vaccinations or did we stop that practice?  

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16 minutes ago, Tatetopa said:

Don't people already get smallpox vaccinations or did we stop that practice?  

I think you're older like me. We all had the vaccination before we could start school. My oldest child was born in 1978 and none of my three were vaccinated for smallpox. They must have stopped giving them after the disease was declared eradicated. I saw in the articles that there are still some military personnel that might get one, but it's no longer a routine vaccination.

It says in one of the articles that we were part of the most successful vaccination program ever. Smallpox is the only disease that has been wiped out worldwide. I corrected myself as the last case anywhere in the world was reported in 1978. And now, there's these vials.

Edited by susieice
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Merck needs to be thoroughly audited over this.  I used to manage a marine research centre that included a biolab for testing of water quality and seafood, esp. oysters...  That section of the centre was very strictly controlled and continuously checked (including every item in every freezer or fridge or temp control cabinet) - it had to be in order to keep its certification.  Anyone in Oz who deals with this sort of stuff needs to be certified, adhere to a whole pile of very precise procedures and are subject to random visits/audits - obviously, Merck haven't ever been properly audited.

Heads should roll at Merck, but also at the relevant testing and certification bodies (here in Oz that's NATA) - whoever does this in the US obviously does an utterly **** job of it...

 

As far as a vaccine for smallpox, that disease was effectively wiped out and the US stopped giving the vaccine in 1972.  The WHO declared it 'eliminated' in 1980.

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12 minutes ago, ChrLzs said:

Merck needs to be thoroughly audited over this.  I used to manage a marine research centre that included a biolab for testing of water quality and seafood, esp. oysters...  That section of the centre was very strictly controlled and continuously checked (including every item in every freezer or fridge or temp control cabinet) - it had to be in order to keep its certification.  Anyone in Oz who deals with this sort of stuff needs to be certified, adhere to a whole pile of very precise procedures and are subject to random visits/audits - obviously, Merck haven't ever been properly audited.

Heads should roll at Merck, but also at the relevant testing and certification bodies (here in Oz that's NATA) - whoever does this in the US obviously does an utterly **** job of it...

 

As far as a vaccine for smallpox, that disease was effectively wiped out and the US stopped giving the vaccine in 1972.  The WHO declared it 'eliminated' in 1980.

I have to agree. There are tight regulations here in the US too. I don't see how these 15 vials could have been overlooked from 1980 when they should have been destroyed, until now. That's 41 years! Surely they've cleaned that freezer in all that time and it should have been inventoried regularly also. Dates on vials checked regularly, temperature control charts filled out, etc. You have to do that with medications in a nursing facility daily. Merck is saying they don't know when or how they got there. I don't get it.

There's a big investigation going now. Philadelphia news has said they will keep us informed on what they find. I sure hope so.

Edited by susieice
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5 hours ago, Solipsi Rai said:

In the words of an internet meme: BURN IT...WITH FIRE! These smallpox vials shouldn't be in possession of anyone outside the CDC, this is a very troubling news story. We're trying to end a pandemic by a SARS coronavirus, and we don't want to deal with a revival of resurgent smallpox.

It doesnt really who has samples of smallpox virus now.  Technology has increased and all the information required is already out in the public domain to recreate the smallpox virus from scratch.

It hasnt been done yet, atleast officially, but the horsepox virus a close relative of the smallpox virus was successfully recreated from scratch.  It's not currently cheap or easy but it's not insanely difficult relatively or necessarily cost prohibitive either.  Everything one needs can be acquired relatively easily, assuming one has the funds, with seemingly not much regulation in place to stop bad actors.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.livescience.com/amp/59809-horsepox-virus-recreated.html

One can literally order the required mass produced DNA fragments and with the proper lab equipment reproduce the smallpox or any other virus with a known and public dna sequence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/9627521

That is a complete smallpox dna sequence found within a few seconds of a google search, can find a lot of other virus dna sequences too.

The reality is any group whether being backed by a nation or stateless actors who can afford a lab and acquire the right scientist can produce just about any dangerous virus they want and do whatever they want with it.  A bit sobering knowing the only thing standing in the way between a massive scale bioterror attack is a lab, a couple hundred thousand to maybe a few million dollars of DNA fragments, and a few people with proper training.  Ultimately vials of smallpox being found is a relatively minor concern.

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9 hours ago, susieice said:

According to Merck, they have no idea how it got there.

and i do not believe it for a second,  of course they say they had no idea, if the did, they would be committing several felonies at least. they would also be a link to those who got them the vials, they knew, they brought the sample there.

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2 minutes ago, aztek said:

and i do not believe it for a second,  of course they say they had no idea, if the did, they would be committing several felonies at least. they would also be a link to those who got them the vials, they knew, they brought the sample there.

They got there somehow. And I don't believe they were just mistakenly overlooked by everyone for all those years. 

Edited by susieice
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This here is why we can't trust governments.

Fully of shadiness.

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