France’s ANSM medical safety agency has ordered a laboratory to suspend its operations after the lab admitted to losing more than 2,000 test tubes containing the SARS virus.
The laboratory is the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which is dedicated to health research on a variety of topics. According to the AP, the Pasteur Institute has maintained that the missing tubes do not pose any risk of infection for the general public, although the ANSM is currently conducting an investigation of the laboratory and its personnel. The ANSM is reportedly taking a “tube-by-tube” inventory of all materials at the Institute.
According to Medline Plus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a form of pneumonia caused by a virus that was first identified in 2003. The outbreak of the virus became a global health threat at the time as an estimated 8,000 individuals became infected and 750 died. Discussion of SARS in popular culture has largely subsided since the initial outbreak, although the possibility for death in older patients is higher than 50%.
ANSM chief inspector Gaetan Rudant claims that the lab found a “dysfunction” in the way material has been tracked at the facility, although they have not yet located the tubes.