The University of Washington has warned researchers there to be on the lookout for suspicious packages, Buzzfeed News reports.
According to Buzzfeed News, the university sent an email to hundreds of its employees saying that such packages had been sent to coronavirus researchers at other research institutions and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to determine if the unknown substance sent to those researchers was hazardous. It adds that the email told researchers to keep an eye out for parcels with "oily stains, discoloration, or a strange odor."
An FBI spokesperson further tells Buzzfeed News that it "along with our local law enforcement partners, responded to a suspicious package sent to a few university researchers" and that "preliminary testing has indicated there is no threat to public safety in connection with this mailing."
As Buzzfeed News notes, this warning comes at a time when coronavirus research has been increasingly politicized.