Health

MonkeyPox: US Operates 4 Biological Labs In Nigeria, Russia Alleges 

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

War-fighting Russia has alleged that monkeypox spread began from at least four biological labs operated by the United States in Nigeria.

This is coming some months after the country accused the US of having military-biological laboratories in Ukraine,

Russia claimed that the recent emergence of the monkeypox virus was from the four US-operated biological laboratories in Nigeria.

The chief of the Russian Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence Troops, Igor Kirillov, made the claim during a briefing on Friday.

Kirillov noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had concluded that the current monkeypox virus originated in Nigeria.

He claimed that this was another state where the United States has placed its biological laboratories, numbering at least four.

He went on to state that according to the evidence available, the African nation holds at least four US-controlled Biolabs which he claimed are located in Abuja, Zaria and Lagos.

Kirillov also cited media reports based on a 2021 Munich Security Conference-Nuclear Threat Initiative simulation modelling the spread of a bioengineered, highly lethal form of monkeypox, describing the exercise as “an odd coincidence” that requires further verification by specialists.

He stressed that in light of repeated US violations of biosafety requirements and evidence of careless storage of pathogenic biomaterials, the WHO should investigate the activities of US-funded labs in Nigeria, and report their findings to the international community.

Kirillov also expressed concerns regarding the safety of smallpox virus samples within the US, according to republicworld.com.

Kirillov further claimed that because of a lack of effective management and a violation of biosecurity standards in the United States, the disease might be exploited by terrorists.

According to him, between 2014 and 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland, and the Center for Vaccine Research in Pennsylvania all uncovered unaccounted for vials containing the virus.

He said that the activities of these labs breached the 1996 WHO resolution prohibiting the storage of smallpox’s causal agent in all but one US-based laboratory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 300 suspected cases of monkeypox in around 20 countries where the disease was previously inexistent have been confirmed, just as measures are ongoing to combat the disease. 

As of the time of filing the report, the Nigerian government, which announced it has placed surveillance at international airports across the country, hasn’t responded to the allegations.

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