MOSCOW, November 26. /TASS/. The US National Biodefense Strategy released on October 18 enhances biodefense of US military personnel, also limiting formal engagement of US military biologists in international initiatives in order to clear the Pentagon of accusations, Chief of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov said on Saturday ahead of the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
"One of the Strategy’s primary objectives is to develop ways of individual and collective biological protection for US military personnel in various theaters of military operations. The goal is to continue research on the agents that cause extremely deadly infectious illnesses that are endemic to certain areas," Kirillov said.
"To avoid charges of military-biological activity at the Pentagon, formal engagement of US military biologists in international initiatives will be limited through increased involvement of civil institutions as Department of Defense contractors," he added.
In accordance with the strategy, the US seeks to strengthen global control over the biological environment around the world and "reserves the right to perform ‘dual-use’ research, including research conducted outside of national boundaries.".
More than 200 breaches of basic pathogen handling rules have been documented in the analysis of the operation of biological laboratories in the United States, Kirillov said.
"Numerous breaches of basic pathogen handling rules have been documented, as well as attempts by biolaboratory management to conceal the facts of accidents and breakdowns of filter-ventilation systems and protective equipment," Kirillov said.
"In total, more than two hundred such incidents have been reported. We assume that the official statistics include only a small proportion of the incidents and that the real situation is much worse," he said.