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A laboratory worker found 15 vials while cleaning out a freezer in a facility that conducts vaccine research outside

Several vials that were labelled "smallpox" and accidentally found at a laboratory in the US state of Pennsylvania raised the alarm for threats of a virus leak to public health, local media has reported. A laboratory worker found 15 vials while cleaning out a freezer in a facility that conducts vaccine research outside Philadelphia, with five labelled "smallpox" and 10 as "vaccinia", Xinhua news agency reported.

Smallpox is a highly infectious disease caused by the variola virus, which claimed the lives of 300 million people in the 20th century, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A possible leak put the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security on high alert. Under the WHO agreement, there are only two authorised repositories of live smallpox stocks, the CDC headquarters in Atlanta and a research center in Russia.

The CDC said Thursday that it found no evidence the vials contained the variola virus, and there was no indication that lab workers or the public had been exposed to the contents, without explanations of how the vials ended up in the freezer or if the agency investigated a virus leak. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, was quoted by The New York Times as saying that smallpox can be lethal "even after it is freeze-dried." (IANS/ MBI)

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HIV patients lose immunity to smallpox even though they were vaccinated against the disease as children and have had much of their immune system restored with anti-retroviral therapy, says a new study.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. It helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

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FILE -Smallpox virus, VOA

Dec 9, 2016: Scientists have discovered genetic evidence of smallpox from the remains of a 17th-century mummy found in a crypt beneath a Lithuanian church. The early DNA provides a timeline of the highly infectious disease that was finally eradicated in the 20th century.

The mummy is of the lower half of a child. Samples of the mummy’s skin were taken by Canadian and Australian researchers, who were then able to reconstruct the decomposing genome of the virus.

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