The FDA used to have a laboratory located at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2014, they moved it to consolidate with other FDA facilities nearby. Because these are reasonably careful and conscientious people, they conducted a formal clean-up before they moved, and during that process they found 327 vials of unclaimed samples of viruses “inside cardboard boxes stored in the back left corner of an FDA laboratory’s cold storage room.” Six of them contained smallpox, one contained Russian spring-summer viral encephalitis (the subject of previous lab accidents), and nine had labels that couldn’t be read.
And then there is this:
So my overall view of the situation is closer to that of former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who says lab accidents “happen all the time,” and we should have a reasonably high suspicion that a novel disease outbreak in a town hosting a virology lab was a lab leak.
Yglesias at Slow Boring (gated)