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Fire at Russian Pathogen Lab

A gas explosion has rocked a Russian laboratory that houses pathogens like smallpox and Ebola and caused a fire, the Guardian reports. Officials there tell the paper that there was no exposure to those pathogens.

The explosion occurred in a sanitary inspection room on the fifth floor of the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology, known as Vector, which is located in Koltsovo in Siberia, the Guardian adds. The room was undergoing repairs, according to Business Insider, and wasn't in use at the time, but it notes the explosion blew out all the glass in the building's windows.

The fire, according to the Guardian, spread through the building's ventilation system and eventually reached 323 square feet in size before being put out.

It adds that authorities in Russia said the room where the explosion occurred wasn't housing any biohazardous material and that the mayor of Koltsovo added that the lab wasn't storing any disease samples because of the ongoing repair work.

Vector, Business Insider adds, was the site of Soviet bioweapons research and now conducts vaccine research for viruses like Ebola, HIV, and swine flu. It is also one of two labs authorized to store live smallpox samples, the other being a lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, it notes.

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