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Monkeys attack lab assistant in India, snatch Covid-19 samples


A troop of monkeys in India have attacked a lab assistant and snatched blood samples of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19.

A small group of young monkeys. Source: istock.com

The incident happened on Thursday when the technician was walking on the campus of a government hospital in the Meerut district of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Reuters reports.

"Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four Covid-19 patients who are undergoing treatment, we had to take their blood samples again," said Dr SK Garg, a top official at the college.

The monkeys reportedly climbed trees with the samples and threw them after chewing the packets.

Authorities said it was not clear if the monkeys had spilled the blood samples, but people living near the campus feared further spread of the virus if the monkeys carried the samples into residential areas.

Dr Garg said it was also not clear if the monkeys could contract the coronavirus if they came into contact with infected blood.

"No evidence has been found that monkeys can contract the infection," Dr Garg told Reuters.

India has 173,491 confirmed cases of Covid-19 to date with 4,980 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.