An explosion occurred at Russia's Centre of Virology and Biotechnology (Vector) on Monday triggering fears of an outbreak of Ebola and Smallpox.
This is big news since it is one of the two laboratories in the world, which store the Smallpox virus. It also houses the Ebola virus and Anthrax spores.
As per the Russian-government backed TASS news agency, the explosion resulted in a fire with glass blown out throughout the building. One worker sustained third-degree burns. It occurred at the Koltsovo City in Central Russia during repair work at the facility and started a fire that extended till 30 metres.
However, the Russian government claims that biohazardous materials were not stored at the exact location that the explosion occurred, and the building itself did not suffer any structural damage.
It did upgrade the fire status to a "major incident" status. The Emergency Ministry dispatched 38 firefighters and 13 fire trucks to the location, which indicates that there is something not being clearly described.
This seems to be the most recent incident in line with a series of accidental blasts that have rocked Russia. In August, five people were killed in a Ministry of Defence test of a liquid rocket propulsion system, which may have been a nuclear system, according to US intelligence.
The current blast has raised safety concerns about Vector, which is among the world's leading epidemiological research centres.
While the cause of the explosion is not yet known, Vector has been, in the past, a bioweapons research facility – the Soviets used it to research Smallpox-based bioweapons. Its current role has been for the welfare of society and includes finding the cure for Ebola earlier this year.
Whether or not Russia is trying to cover up the scale of damage and the risk of the spread of diseases is not yet known – the situation should closely be monitored over the coming weeks.