Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recent string of deaths, suicides, and accidents concerning Microbiologists...

Experts Discount 'Accident' In Harvard Coffee Poisoning

By Adam Smith and Jessica Van Sack
October 26, 2009

A leading toxicologist believes the chances are slim that six lab workers at Harvard University Medical School were poisoned by accident.

"An accident? Sodium azide is a poison," said David M. Benjamin, a toxicologist and Chestnut Hill-based clinical pharmacologist. "Absolutely not."

The Herald reported yesterday that six scientists and students at the New Research Building in Boston's Longwood Medical area were mysteriously poisoned after drinking from a communal, single-serve coffee machine on the eighth floor near their pathology lab on Aug. 26. Seconds later all six reported symptoms including dizziness and low blood pressure and were taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for treatment.

"Could it have gotten in the coffee machine inadvertantly? Absolutely not," Benjamin said of the compound, an odorless white solid used in labs as a preservative. "It could be considered an attempted murder or assault."

Harvard did not make the poisoning public until after repeated inquiries from the Herald. The university continued to skirt questions yesterday, with a spokesman referring inquiries to Harvard police, and the police referring questions back to the spokesman.

"This is crazy," said a Harvard Medical School researcher who did not want to be identified. "I don't know why it would take two months to announce this."

Although he is not privy to the investigation, medical school spokesman David Cameron said, "What I know at this point in time is that all options and potential avenues for how this could have happened are being very thoroughly and intensely investigated."

The same substance was used in a string of coffee and tea poisoning incidents in Japan a decade ago. In one incident, the chief internist of a Kyoto hospital was found guilty of lacing the green tea ingested by seven fellow doctors with sodium azide.

Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Also my new website: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health

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