Monkeys attack lab assistant in India and steal coronavirus blood samples


A gang of monkeys attacked an Indian lab assistant and fled the scene with some coronavirus blood samples.

Authorities said on Friday that several monkeys accosted a laboratory technician who was walking around a state-run medical college in India and took with them blood samples from coronavirus patients. Officials are uncertain if any of the samples have spilled.

“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,” Dr. S.K. Garg, an official at the college, told Reuters.

The Times of India reported that one of the monkeys was later spotted chewing on one of the blood sample kits in a tree.

Monkeys have increasingly moved into human areas in the country, at times causing disturbances, as their habitats are destroyed. According to environmentalists, the primates primarily stray into urban areas in search of food.

India has seen approximately 167,400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to the latest reading of the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Of those cases, nearly 4,800 people have died, and 71,400 have recovered.

More than 5.8 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus around the world. At least 361,000 COVID-19 patients have died, and more than 2.4 million have recovered.