Gas explosion in lab storing dangerous viruses in Siberia

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A research lab in Siberia that stores dangerous viruses including smallpox, anthrax, and Ebola was hit by a gas explosion on Monday.

A gas cylinder exploded in a sanitary inspection room on the fifth floor of the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology building in the city of Koltsovo.

The lab — also known as “Vector” — confirmed the explosion in a statement.

The authorities said they the explosion in Vector, which houses dangerous viruses including anthrax, Ebola, and live specimens of smallpox, poses no biological or any other threat to the surrounding population.

The explosion led to a fire in an area of about 30 square meters (323 square feet), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the state-run Tass news agency reported.

Originally, the center was used to develop biological weapons research during the Cold War Soviet era. Now it is one of the largest scientific virological and biotechnological centers in Russia.

Statement in Russian

Via BI / Tass/ RFL / Time

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