Russia is exploring the use of monkeypox as a biological weapon, claims ex-Soviet scientist – World News
Rare viral infections can be transmitted from infected wild animals in parts of West and Central Africa and can be transmitted through a person’s breath or bodily fluids
Image: via REUTERS)
According to one expert in the field, Russia was studying the possibility of using monkeypox as a biological weapon until at least the early 1990s.
Former Soviet Union bioweapons expert Colonel Kanat Alibekov – also known as Kenneth Alibek – claimed in recently discovered interviews that the country had a program to find out which viruses could be weaponized. He was deputy head of the USSR’s biological weapons program until its collapse in 1991.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that can be transmitted from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa and can be spread between humans via both droplet respiration and the bodily fluids of an infected person. As Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced yesterday (Friday), there are currently 20 cases in the UK.
dr Alibekov said: “So we developed a special program to determine which ‘model’ viruses could be used in place of human smallpox. We have tested vaccinia virus, mousepox virus, rabbitpox virus, and monkeypox virus as models of smallpox.
“The idea was that all research and development work would be done using these model viruses. Once we have received a number of positive results, it would only take two weeks to carry out the same manipulations with the smallpox virus and stockpile the warfare agent. That’s what we would do. We have in our arsenal a genetically modified smallpox virus that could replace the previous one.”
The eradication of smallpox through global vaccination programs forced the Soviets to abandon the idea. dr Alibekov said in a 1998 interview that stray cases caused by an accidental leak in Russia are now “difficult to explain to the international community”.
(Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF)
The Russian Defense Ministry decided to continue working with monkeypox after the end of the USSR to “create future biological weapons,” the doctor added.
He was previously brought before a hearing in the United States Congress, where he said he was “convinced that Russia’s biological weapons program has not been completely dismantled.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/russia-looked-using-monkeypox-biological-27025603 Russia is exploring the use of monkeypox as a biological weapon, claims ex-Soviet scientist - World News