State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR

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State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR
Вектор (научный центр).png
Agency overview
Formed1974; 49 years ago (1974)
JurisdictionGovernment of the Russian Federation
HeadquartersKoltsovo, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia
54°56′17″N 83°13′35.92″E / 54.93806°N 83.2266444°E / 54.93806; 83.2266444Coordinates: 54°56′17″N 83°13′35.92″E / 54.93806°N 83.2266444°E / 54.93806; 83.2266444
Parent agencyFederal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Edit this at Wikidata

The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR, also known as the Vector Institute (Russian: Государственный научный центр вирусологии и биотехнологии „Вектор“, romanizedGosudarstvennyy nauchnyy tsentr virusologii i biotekhnologii "Vektor"), is a biological research center in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia. It has research facilities and capabilities for all levels of Biological Hazard, CDC Levels 1–4. It is one of two official repositories for the now-eradicated smallpox virus,[1][a] and was part of the system of laboratories known as the Biopreparat.

The facility was upgraded and secured using modern cameras, motion sensors, fences and biohazard containment systems. Its relative seclusion makes security an easier task. Since its inception there has been an army regiment guarding the facility.[2][1]

At least in Soviet times the facility was a nexus for biological warfare research (see Soviet biological weapons program), though the nature of any ongoing research in this area is uncertain.

As of April 2022 the Vector Institute is the Russian site for the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory Network, which responds "to the public health needs arising from avian influenza A(H5N1) infection in humans and influenza pandemic preparedness."[3]


Organized in 1974, the center has a long history of virology, making impressive Soviet contribution to smallpox research.[4] Genetic engineering projects included creation of viruses that manufacture toxins as well as research on bioregulators and various peptides that function in the nervous system.[5] In the post-Soviet times the center made research and development contributions in many projects like a vaccine for Hepatitis A, influenza vaccines, vaccines for the Ebola virus,[6] antiviral drugs with nucleotide analogs,[7] test-systems for diagnostics of HIV and Hepatitis B and other development.[8] It is one of the two laboratories worldwide that are authorized to keep smallpox.[9]

COVID-19 vaccine development[edit]

In March 2020 it was reported that Russian scientists have begun to test vaccine prototypes for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with the plan of presenting the most effective one in June, a laboratory chief at Vector Institute said. The prototypes have been created and the testing on animals began.[10]

In July 2020, research by the centre found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed in room temperature water within 72 hours, helping further research about the disease during the pandemic.[11][12]


The main tasks of the centre, according to VECTOR, are:[citation needed]

  • Basic research of causative agents of especially dangerous and socially important viral infections, and their genetic variability and diversity, pathogenesis of viral infections.
  • Ensuring constant readiness for implementing diagnostics of especially dangerous infectious agents.
  • The development and introduction into healthy practice of diagnostic curative and preventive medicines.
  • Post-graduate training, and scientific training of higher qualification in the field of Virology, molecular biology and biotechnology through graduate school and higher education.


On 30 April 1988, a doctor died two weeks after accidentally pricking himself through two layers of rubber gloves with a needle contaminated with the Marburg virus.[13]

In 2004, a researcher at VECTOR died after accidentally pricking herself with a needle contaminated with the Ebola virus.[14]

On 17 September 2019, a gas explosion occurred at Vector.[15] One worker suffered third-degree burns, and the blast blew out window panes. The lab has highly contagious forms of bird flu and strains of hepatitis.[16] The explosion happened in a decontamination room that was being renovated by a contractor.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The other repository is the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. ^ a b Nellis, Kathy (October 26, 2007). "Smallpox Eradication Memories and Milestones". The Global Health Chronicles. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  2. ^ "Vector Institute in Novosibirsk, Siberia: Where Russia stores its smallpox". July 15, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  3. ^ "WHO H5 Reference Laboratories". World Health Organization. n.d.
  4. ^ "Is Siberia a Safe Place for Smallpox?". July 15, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  5. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services. Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. (11 October 2013). Biodefense: Worldwide Threats and Countermeasure Efforts for the Department of Defense : Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities of the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, Hearing Held October 11, 2013. p. 34. Google Books website Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Coronavirus updates". The Hindu. March 17, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR / Institute of Molecular Biology". Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  8. ^ "About The Center". Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  9. ^ "Smallpox > Bioterrorism". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 19, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2022. Today, there are only two labs in the world that are approved to have the smallpox virus for research: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the Russian State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology in the Russian Federation.
  10. ^ "Russia to test coronavirus vaccine prototype on animals". Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "Scientists figure out a weakness of coronavirus: Ordinary water". mint. August 1, 2020. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  12. ^ "Water at boiling temperature can completely destroy novel coronavirus, say Russian scientists". Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  13. ^ Preston, Richard (March 9, 1998). "THE BIOWEAPONEERS". pp. 52-65. The New Yorker.
  14. ^ Miller, Judith (May 25, 2004). "Russian Scientist Dies in Ebola Accident at Former Weapons Lab". The New York Times. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  15. ^ "What happened after an explosion at a Russian disease research lab called VECTOR?". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. November 27, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "Blast sparks fire at Russian laboratory housing smallpox virus". The Guardian. September 17, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Lentzos, Filippa (November 27, 2019). "What happened after an explosion at a Russian disease research lab called VECTOR?". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved July 10, 2020.

External links[edit]