HealthDay News — There was no smallpox virus in frozen vials recently discovered at a vaccine research facility in Pennsylvania, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
Instead of the variola virus that causes smallpox, lab tests showed that the vials contained vaccinia, the virus used in smallpox vaccine, according to the agency.
On Nov. 15, federal officials were alerted that the vials were found by a laboratory worker while cleaning out a freezer in the facility. The vials were sent on Nov. 18 to the CDC.
“On November 15, 2021, the U.S. Government was notified of the report of a small number of intact, frozen vials labeled ‘smallpox’ discovered by a laboratory worker while cleaning out a freezer in a facility that conducts vaccine research in Pennsylvania,” the CDC said in a statement. “The freezer facility was immediately secured and staff followed standard protocols for notifying CDC of such a potential discovery. The vials were sent securely to CDC for testing on November 18 to determine what they contained. No one was exposed to contents of the vials.”