French scientists admit to losing 2,300 samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus

Institut Pasteur realised tubes were missing during a routine inventory check

Heather Saul
Tuesday 15 April 2014 16:47
Comments

A routine inventory at a Parisian research body revealed over 2,300 samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus are missing.

The renowned Institut Pasteur in France admitted on Monday that it had misplaced 2,349 of the vials and, despite enlisting help from France’s drug and health safety agency, have been unable to find them.

The investigation by the ANSM at the unnamed laboratory failed to locate the samples, which have been missing since January. It has now filed a case to the prosecutor of Paris to investigate the disappearance.

The Institut Pasteur has been quick to reassure the public that the vials do not pose any risk, according to The Local.

“The tubes concerned have no infectious potential,” a statement said. “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.”

They also dismissed the threat of samples being misused because none of the tubes contained the complete virus, only fragments.

“We knew from the beginning that the samples were not infectious, as the independent experts confirmed,” said Christian Bréchot, President of L’Institut Pasteur said.

“ [But] losing the samples is an unacceptable mistake. We took a decision to inform the public. We want to be perfectly transparent. It is the first time that the institute has lost samples in this manner and it is entirely inadmissible.”

SARS is a serious respiratory illness and was responsible for the death of almost 800 people in over two dozen countries during the 2003 outbreak in Asia.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in