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HIV, Ebola and anthrax on fire: Explosion and fire in virus lab in Russia

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 17, 2019
A virus research center in Siberia was reportedly in flames after an explosion.
fire in virus lab in Russia
Russia   The situation was quickly upgraded from an ordinary emergency to a major inciden
The secretive compound is known for its stores of Ebola, HIV, anthrax and other strains.

Topics: HIV Ebola anthrax fire explosion virus Russia

Firefighters and rescue services were scrambled on Monday to respond to a fire that broke out in Koltsovo, a scientific hub several kilometers from Novosibirsk.

The situation was quickly upgraded from an ordinary emergency to a major incident as the explosion and fire affected Russia’s research center of virology and biotechnology, often referred to as the Vector Institute.

The laboratory is known for having developed vaccines for Ebola and hepatitis, as well as for studying epidemics and general issues surrounding immunology. During the Cold War, it was thought to be part of now-defunct Soviet biological weapons program, meaning that some of the most dangerous strains including that of smallpox, Ebola, anthrax and certain plagues are still being kept inside the Institute’s building.

a local branch of the Emergencies Ministry swiftly responded to the call, sending in 13 fire engines and 38 firefighters, who entered the six-story building minutes after arrival.

The fire was located and quickly extinguished on the fourth floor where some “construction works” were being carried out.