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pick a ‘flu, any ‘flu — well, maybe not that one

Health: Meridian Bioscience Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio mails lethal pandemic strain of ‘flu to nearly 5000 labs in 18 countries:

The firm was told to pick an influenza A sample and chose from its stockpile the deadly 1957 H2N2 strain.

Check out how it was spotted:

On March 26, National Microbial Laboratory Canada detected the 1957 pandemic strain in a sample not connected with the test kit. After informing WHO and the CDC of the strange finding, the lab investigated. It informed the U.N. health agency on Friday that it had traced the virus to the test kit.

My emphasis. omgwtfbbq!

(WHO’s influenza chief) Klaus Stohr said the test kits are not the only supplies of the 1957 pandemic strain sitting in laboratories around the world. ‘The world really has to think what routine labs should be doing with these samples they have kept in the back of their fridges,’ Stohr said.

True: the lovely C has a story from her TCD days of a vial of smallpox
found buried deep in the ice in the back of a long-forgotten freezer, apparently rediscovered by someone during a routine spring cleaning. This was in the early ’90s, when smallpox was supposedly down to samples in just two high-security labs, in Russia and America.