While New York struggles to restore power and transit after extensive damage by Hurricane Sandy on Monday night, some of the storm’s greatest losses will take years to recover. Years of research and thousands of lab mice were lost when NYU Hospital’s generators failed and forced a mass evacuation during the storm.
The New York Daily News reports that the black-out destroyed many special enzymes, antibodies, and DNA strands that had been painstakingly produced in NYU’s research laboratories and stored at extremely cold temperatures. Scientists are trying to salvage what they can. Additionally, lab mice that were vital to ongoing experiments drowned in the flooding:
Even more alarming, thousands of mice that are used by scientists for cancer research and other experiments, drowned during a flood. It is unclear how the mice died, but the source told the News that many of these mice are genetically modified for certain research and took years to produce. It will likely set back several scientists’ work by years, the source said.
The storm flooded seven hospital buildings with up to ten feet of water on Monday. When the generators failed, roughly a thousand medical staff carried 215 patients, including the hospital’s chairman, Kenneth Langone, down many flights of stairs by flashlight. The patients are now being housed in other New York hospitals including Mount Sinai, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and St. Luke’s Hospital.