Dugway Proving Ground briefly locked down

The Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, a U.S. Army base that carries out tests on biological weapons, was locked down temporarily on Wednesday after a small amount of a nerve agent was reported missing.

A routine inventory check on sensitive materials discovered that a vial with less than one milliliter, which is a quarter of a teaspoon, of a VX nerve agent was missing, AFP reports.

The nerve agent has an amber color and is a tasteless, odorless, oily liquid that can affect the ability of the body to carry messages through the nerves. People can be exposed through skin contact, which is the most toxic, and through inhalation.

The vial was found at 3:00 a.m. in a laboratory. The Army then stated that, "All personnel are uninjured and safe," according to AFP. "The public is safe and well. As a precaution, the commander immediately locked down the installation and began efforts to identify the cause of the discrepancy."

Before the vial was tracked down, authorities at the base, which employs close to 1,500 people, said that the lockdown was underway, "to resolve a serious concern within the Test Area," AFP reports.

The facility tests biological substances to protect troops against biological attacks. This is part of an effort by the U.S. to protect against the possibility of extremists obtaining chemical, biological or nuclear materials.