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Published on 17 Sep 2019, 11h42

Novosibirsk, Russia, a city close to the laboratory that stores smallpox virus: the place where material is stored has not been compromised, said the research center & nbsp; (Kirill Kukhmar / Contributor / Reuters)

São Paulo - A Russian laboratory that kept samples of the smallpox virus, a disease eradicated in 1980, exploded last Monday (16). The information was released by the direction of the laboratory itself, the Russian Center for Research in Biotechnology and Virology (Vector), and had repercussions in international press vehicles, such as the CNN news network.

Smallpox was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1980 and the last outbreak was registered in Somalia. According to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, it is estimated that the disease has killed 800 million people in 80 years of existence and is considered one of the worst infectious diseases ever seen.

According to information released by Vector, the incident occurred during a health inspection and only one employee was injured. The room that burned down, the official note continued, did not store any type of biological material and the explosion did not compromise the building's structure.

The incident is not the first at the research center, recalled the British newspaper The Guardian. In 2004, a researcher died after contracting the Ebola virus by contaminating himself with a syringe. At the time, the government said this was the only death caused by the disease in the country.

Located near the city of Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia which is about 3,000 kilometers from Moscow, Vector was one of the centers for the development of biological weapons during the Cold War, CNN reported. In addition to this, another laboratory authorized to store this virus is the United States' Center for Disease Control (CDC).

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