Russian Scientist Dies in Ebola Accident

Another scientist working at a former biowarfare lab has shuffled off this mortal coil:

A Russian scientist at a former Soviet biological weapons laboratory in Siberia has died after accidentally sticking herself with a needle laced with ebola, the deadly virus for which there is no vaccine or treatment, the lab’s parent Russian center announced over the weekend.

Scientists and officials said the accident had raised concerns about safety and secrecy at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology, known as Vector, which in Soviet times specialized in turning deadly viruses into biological weapons. Vector has been a leading recipient of aid in an American program to help former Soviet scientists and labs convert to peaceful research.

Although the accident occurred May 5, Vector did not report it to the World Health Organization until last week. Scientists said that although Vector had isolated the scientist to contain any potential spread of the disease and there was no requirement that accidents involving ebola be reported, the delay meant that scientists at the health agency could not provide prompt advice on treatment that might have saved her life.

Is it me, or does this read like something from a Sharon K. Gilbert novel?

Seriously, why didn’t the scientist’s colleagues put out a general call for help? Did they not want the world to know they were working with Ebola? Why not, if they were just working, as they claim, on an Ebola vaccine?

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