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Monkeys In India Attack Lab Assistant And Steal COVID-19 Samples

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A troop of monkeys in India attacked a technician working in a medical laboratory, snatching away blood samples of patients who had tested positive for the coronavirus, local authorities said Friday.

The attack occurred at Meerut Medical College near the Indian capital New Delhi, where researchers have been studying the coronavirus, according to Reuters. “Monkeys grabbed and fled with the blood samples of four COVID-19 patients who are undergoing treatment,” said Dr. S.K. Garg, a senior official at the college, lamenting that his team “had to take their blood samples again.”

After the monkeys escaped the college premises, they were later found on the top of a tree chewing on the blood samples, The New Indian Express reported. Although health experts at the college stated that there was no evidence to suggest humans could contract the coronavirus from monkeys, the incident nonetheless caused panic in the area.

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India has confirmed around 174,000 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths so far, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Dr Dheeraj Baliyan, medical superintendent of the college, later confirmed that the samples were recovered. “They were still intact and we don’t think there is any risk of contamination or spread,” he told AFP Friday. The college also confirmed no individual came into contact with the samples, which were later disposed of after the area was sanitized, according to CNN.

India has recently reported an increased number of attacks and disturbances from monkeys, and is attributed to the destruction of their habitats and natural food sources.

Earlier this year, an Indian village was raided by a troop of 400 monkeys, and New Delhi’s population of 30,000 monkeys have been reported to terrorize people, steal belongings, and even kill. (RELATED: Indian Airport Worker Uses Bear Costume To Scare Away Monkeys)

Daily Caller reporter Varun Hukeri has also had several negative experiences with monkeys in India, including instances of stolen food and minor physical injuries.