Some fun stuff is coming out as we gear up for the Elizabeth Holmes trial (former CEO of tech startup Theranos).

My favorite anecdote is about the time that someone in the lab left an ebola sample running in the machine overnight with it's cover off... directly beneath an HVAC vent. Ebola DNA got sucked up and sprayed all over the building.

Which isn't as dangerous as it sounds... but it does mean that if you test a drop of water from the sink it'll test positive for Ebola.


As you can imagine, when you're trying to develop a machine that can detect infectious diseases in blood samples this is a bit of a problem, as literally everything in the building now had Ebola DNA all over it.

Management had to be harassed for a month solid that they needed to fix it before they finally gave in.

They called in a special fumigation company to use a combination of UV lighting and peroxide fumes... which still wasn't enough to get rid of it all. So they used bleach.



Theranos lacked basic, boilerplate safety and contagion handling procedures when it started. Staff didn't wear lab coats, goggles, or any PPE. Blood stains could frequently be seen on surfaces in the lab from spills. All they had were wet wipes to "disinfect." One lab tech got sprayed in the eyes with a sample because they weren't wearing goggles.

This company had zero business running a lab or developing a machine to process blood samples. But VCs gave them hundreds of millions.

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