A Vektor researcher has died after sticking herself with a needle containing the deadly Ebola virus, her organization said Tuesday.
The accident occurred on May 5, when Antonina Presnyakova was conducting research on Ebola, a virus for which no vaccine or remedy exists, said Natalya Skultetskaya, a spokeswoman for the Vektor State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology outside Novosibirsk.
Skultetskaya said efforts to save Presnyakova failed and she died on May 19 at a special hospital located on the territory of the center. Research and medical personnel who were in contact with Presnyakova during her treatment will remain under medical observation for three weeks, she said by telephone.
Skultetskaya denied a report in The New York Times that the center was slow to inform the World Health Organization about the incident, reporting it only last week. She said the case was reported immediately to both the Health and Social Development Ministry and the WHO. "We received all the necessary medical assistance," she said. "On the WHO's advice, we had a conference call involving a doctor who treated Ebola patients in Africa."
The incident was the third case of accidental contraction of a deadly virus at Vektor, which served as a top biological weapons laboratory in Soviet times.