Researchers are demanding an investigation into the destruction of a large collection of bacterial samples, some irreplaceable, from a lab at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Pennsylvania. The archive, of nearly 10,000 samples of infectious bacteria, was the result of more than 20 years' work and included some very rare strains.

The samples were destroyed after the medical centre closed down its special pathogens laboratory, headed by Victor Yu, in July 2006. Yu and his colleagues were planning to move the samples elsewhere, but did not get the chance.

David Snydman of the Tufts–New England Medical Center in Boston and 242 other researchers have signed a petition, published in the April issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, asking an independent review committee to investigate what led to the repository's destruction.