Explosion in ex-bioweapons facility in Russia housing samples of smallpox, Ebola

The facility’s head emphasized that the incident doesn't pose any biological or any other threat to the population.


An explosion in a biological laboratory in Russia containing a range of virus samples including Ebola and smallpox virus has reportedly sparked a fire in the facility.

Authorities have said that the blast was triggered in the middle of ongoing repairs to a sanitary inspection room at the Vector facility, also called the Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, in Koltsovo, Siberia, according to a report in the Guardian.

Vector, which was once home to biological weapons research in the Soviet era, is now a premiere Russian institution in disease research.

Explosion in ex-bioweapons facility in Russia housing samples of smallpox, Ebola

The smallpox vaccine.

Russian authorities insisted that the room where the fire broke out has "no biological material" stored in it, that the fire itself was eliminated, that one person was injured and the building wasn't damaged. The facility’s head emphasized that the incident doesn't pose any biological or any other threat to the population, according to local media.

Vector is one of only two places on earth where the smallpox virus survives. The other is a high-security laboratory at the US Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta.

A Vector lab researcher died at the facility in 2004 after having accidentally pricking herself with a needle carrying the Ebola virus.