French scientists lose 2300 samples of deadly SARS virus
London: A prestigious French institute has misplaced about 2,349 vials containing samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus.
The Paris-based Institut Pasteur, which was among the first to isolate HIV in the 1980s, admitted to have lost the vials in 29 boxes.
Despite taking help from France's drug and health safety agency, the institute has been unable to find the samples.
According to a statement by the institute, researchers realised the vials containing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) samples were unaccounted for during a recent inventory, 'The Local' reported.
The drug and health safety agency spent four days doing an "in depth" investigation at the unnamed lab, but came up empty handed.
The institute, however, said the missing vials of the virus is no reason for any alarm.
"The tubes concerned have no infectious potential," the statement said.
"Independent experts referred by health authorities have qualified the risk as 'nil' in regards to available evidence and literature on the survival of the SAS virus," it said.
The institute has asked authorities to investigate the missing vials, which they believe may have been destroyed without any record having been made.