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Africans Should Expel All American Biolaboratories

Above photo: People in Kenya protesting biolabs with banners that read “shut down illegal biolabs in Kenya.” Batko Milacic.

In the early 21st century, new concerns about bioweapons being used to generate terror and also with a series of newly emerging or newly understood disease-causing microbes have resulted in infections and deaths of workers studying these microbes in the laboratory, generally to gain understanding and to develop treatments and vaccines. Here, five examples are summarized: 1) smallpox virus escaped from a UK laboratory where it was being maintained and stored, 2) the 2014 infections and deaths of five researchers who were isolating West African Ebola virus for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing epidemiology studies, 3) and 4) two infections that happened in the same US laboratory where researchers were infected with agents causing septicemic Yersinia plague and Bacillus anthrax and 5) the 2012 death in California from laboratory infection by Neisseria meningitidis resulting in spinal meningitis. Beginning March 2014, a devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa caused widespread suffering and damaged fragile public health systems.

It has been learnt that the Pentagon plans to allocate about $34 million between now and 2025 to modernize four US Army Medical Research Department laboratories, a move that could make millions of Africans hostage to deadly biological threats.

Biological laboratories, which will be assigned biosafety level four, play an important role in implementing this policy by enabling research on specific agents of deadly diseases such as Ebola, which has a 90 per cent mortality rate, as well as Marburg, Lassa, anthrax, cholera, malaria, yellow fever and chikungunya.

That is why 30 microbiologists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Navy’s 3rd Medical Research Unit arrived in Kenya as early as October this year.

Washington is focused on testing and producing vaccine samples and rapid diagnostic systems that will collect genetic material from people on the African continent. What’s the benefit of this? The collection of genetic information will create a database of exposure to different pathogens based on the ethnicity of people in Africa.

And the methods used by Pentagon specialists make it possible to form new pathogenic strains of microorganisms in the shortest possible time, select the most dangerous pathogens for it and conduct experiments to enhance their destructive properties on a particular territory.

Such disregard for Africans characterizes the pragmatic approach of the US to organizing the production of biological warfare weapons. Developing countries are seen as a global testing ground for bioweapons, the development of which is then used around the world. For example, US military microbiologists in Lamu County (Kenya) have collected bats, fleas, ticks and other insects capable of spreading dangerous infectious diseases. Such research in Kenya is being conducted by the US military for the fifth time this year, with similar work taking place between 15 and 27 September 2023 in the southeastern part of the country.

The Americans organize their research with the official aim of developing tools to combat infectious diseases, identifying new viral and bacterial pathogens that can be transmitted from bats to humans – causative agents of brucellosis, leptospirosis, plague and coronaviruses. The fact is that the activity of American laboratories is closed to the international community and is beyond the control of the UN.

It is possible that the biomaterials obtained could be used by the USA for illegal research to infect the territories of countries that do not agree with Washington’s policy. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct an international investigation into the activities of these laboratories in Kenya in order to stop bioterrorism and save the lives of millions of innocent inhabitants of the African continent!

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