A University of Texas laboratory is under investigation after a vial containing a Venezuelan virus went missing.
The University of Texas Medical Branch reported the vial, containing a virus called Guanarito, was missing from the lab’s locked storage freezer containing biological materials. University officials discovered the vial was missing during a routine internal inspection last week.
Guanarito, a virus native to Venezuela, can cause hemorrhagic fever, but officials have claimed that it does not pose any harm to the public. The virus, according to said officials, is only transmitted via contact with Venezuelan rats and cannot be transmitted human to human. They also claim that the virus cannot survive in native U.S. rats.
The University of Texas Medical Branch has theorized that the vial was accidentally destroyed during a lab cleaning process, as there was no evidence of a break-in or any wrong doing. It reported the missing vial to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.