Dr. Set Van Nguyen, age 44, died on December 14, 2001. He was found dead in the airlock entrance to the walk-in refrigerator in the laboratory he worked at in Victoria State, Australia. The room was full of deadly gas which had leaked from a liquid nitrogen cooling system and the room was vented. He was working on a vaccine to protect against biological weapons, or a weapon itself. In January, 2001, the magazine Nature published information that two scientists, Dr. Ron Jackson and Dr. Ian Ramshaw, using genetic manipulation and DNA sequencing, had created an incredibly virulent form of mousepox, a cousin of smallpox and Dr. Nguyen had worked for 15 years at the same Australian facility. Now for the intriguing part of this story.
On Friday, November 2nd, the Washington Post reported: “Officials are now scrambling to determine how a quiet, 61-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, riding the subway each day to and from her job in a hospital stockroom, was exposed to the deadly anthrax spores that killed her this week. They worry because there is no obvious connection to the factors common to earlier anthrax exposures and deaths: no clear link to the mail or to the media.