FBI Launches Probe after 'Questionable Vials' Labeled 'Smallpox' Found in Merck's Pennsylvania Lab

There were reportedly 15 questionable vials, according to the unclassified "For Official Use Only" alert, five of which were labeled "smallpox" and 10 were labeled "vaccinia."

The FBI and the CDC have launched an investigation after the discovery of several "questionable vials" labeled "smallpox" and "Vaccinia" in the freezer a Pennsylvania lab. The mysterious vials were found on Tuesday evening in a Merck laboratory in Pennsylvania, according to an unclassified report sent to the Department of Homeland Security and seen by Yahoo News.

There were reportedly 15 questionable vials, according to the unclassified "For Official Use Only" alert. Five of the vials were labeled as "smallpox" and 10 were labeled as "vaccinia." The vials were secured immediately.

Mystery Deepens

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) YouTube Grab

Following the discovery of the mysterious vials, the Merck facility was immediately closed down. According to Yahoo News, which obtained a copy of an unclassified For Official Use Only alert, the vials were secured immediately. However, the lockdown imposed on the facility has now been lifted.

The FBI and CDC have now launched an investigation, which is ongoing. The discovery of the vials immediately created panic given that smallpox is deadly and most Americans aren't vaccinated against it.

However, the FBI so far hasn't been successful in finding out if the vials were somehow kept in the lab my mistake or there is a more mysterious angle to it. The news of the mysterious vials comes amid ongoing debate if the deadly Covid-19 that has wreaked havoc across the globe was manufactured in a lab in Wuhan.

Neither the CDC nor the FBI have publicly commented.

Too Scary

The CDC headquarters Wikimedia Commons

Smallpox was once a common global disease but since has almost been eradicated. The disease causes small blood vessels of the skin, mouth and throat to become infected and cause harrowing blemishes that then spread all over the body.

During the 20th century it was responsible for 300-400 million deaths and in 1967 the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that around 15 million people had the disease and two million died in that year.

Fortunately, after various vaccination campaigns during the 19th and 20th centuries, smallpox was considered to be globally eradicated in 1979 by the WHO.

However, that doesn't end the danger of the diseases. The big question is if it has been eradicated how the 15 mysterious vials with "smallpox" have now appeared and if the virus has been developed in a laboratory. Or was it a prank.

However, even if it is a prank, neither the FBI nor the CDC is taking it lightly and are now examining the contents in the vials. The discovery of the vials is even more scary given that majority of Americans are not vaccinated against smallpox, and those who were vaccinated would likely now have waning immunity.

That said, CDC will take custody of the vials on Wednesday and start the examination process.

Related topics : Coronavirus