The gas explosion caused a fire in a Russian laboratory that has chickenpox to Ebola viruses, authorities said.
The explosion took place during renovations in the fifth floor sanitary inspection room at the State Center for Research in Virology and Biotechnology – usually known as Vector – in Koltsia, in the Novosibirsk region of Siberia, the center said on Monday. The site housed research on biological weapons in the Soviet era and is currently one of the main Russian research centers for diseases.
One employee suffered third-degree burns after an explosion that blew up the glass in the building. The 30-square-meter fire was later extinguished.
The Russian authorities insisted that the room in which it exploded should not contain biologically hazardous substances and not cause any structural damage.
Smallpox virus survived in two places on Earth: in Vector and another high-security laboratory, the American Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.
In 2004, the scientist died in a laboratory complex after accidentally pricking himself with a needle transmitting the Ebola virus.