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Harvard medical researchers were poisoned

nrb.jpgThe possibility that six Harvard researchers were poisoned deliberately has been raised by one of those who fell ill after drinking coffee laced with sodium azide.

Matteo Iannacone, a postdoc at Harvard Medical School, said he doesn’t believe the coffee could have been spiked accidentally or as a joke (AP, ABC).

Experts seem to agree. David Benjamin, a local toxicologist and clinical pharmacologist, told the Boston Herald, “An accident? Sodium azide is a poison. Could it have gotten in the coffee machine inadvertently? Absolutely not.”

Although it has only just been made public, the incident occurred on 26 August, when six researchers who drank from a coffee machine in the HMS New Research Building were taken to a nearby emergency room.

“While we do not yet know how this incident occurred, we have recently learned that sodium azide, a preservative commonly used in laboratories, was present in the coffee consumed by the six employees,” the medical school said in a statement. “As the investigation continues, we are being prudent and taking additional precautionary measures to ensure the well being of our community.”

Police are now investigating the incident and lab security is being toughened up.

See also

Java drinkers detail ordeal – Boston Herald

Experts: Harvard Med School Poisoning Intentional – WBZTV

Image: the New Research Building by cliff1066™ via flickr under creative commons

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