Washington moving ‘illegal’ bioresearch to Africa – Moscow
The US is transferring dual-purpose biological research activities to Africa, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Monday, citing Pentagon documents.
According to Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, who leads the Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces, the move is in response to Moscow’s efforts to expose Washington's illegal military-biological operations. He also cited the worsening “epidemic situation near biosites in the European region.”
“The documents at our disposal confirm the activities of key Pentagon contractors on the African continent – in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Uganda, and South Africa. Customers on the part of the US government are the DTRA [Defense Threat Reduction Agency], the National Security Agency, and the US Department of State,” Kirillov added.
Moscow has repeatedly accused the US of plotting biological warfare against it and other countries.
Last year, Russian UN representative Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council that Moscow had discovered at least 30 Ukrainian laboratories engaged in disease research, including anthrax and cholera, funded and supervised by the US. In May, State Duma Deputy Speaker Irina Yarovaya expressed concern over Washington’s interest in biological weapons, describing it as a highly concealed and unpredictable form of mass destruction that could become a global issue.
The US has denied the claims.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry reiterated its previous concerns about “unauthorized” sample collection by Metabiota, which it referred to as a “key Pentagon contractor” during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
According to Kirillov, the company’s lack of transparency, which prompted concerns from the World Health Organization, resulted in the illegal export of live Ebola virus samples to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infections.
“Predictable deterioration of the disease situation near American biosites is forcing the governments of many African states to take another look at the necessity and expediency of co-operation with the United States. For example, in 2022, Metabiota operations in Africa were terminated because the company’s illegal practices raised too many questions at the level of national governments,” Kirillov claimed.
The San Francisco-based Metabiota was a partner in the $200 million USAID-funded ‘Predict’ epidemiological research project, which concluded in 2019.
Several reports, including one by the Associated Press in 2016, claimed that during the 2014 Ebola outbreak the company made a series of “costly” mistakes in its efforts to combat the disease in Sierra Leone.
Metabiota employees contributed to flawed laboratory results, disrupted collaboration, and put people at risk of the deadly virus, according to the agency, which cited leaked documents and interviews with international health responders.