MOSCOW, September 6. /TASS/. A clandestine lab found in the US state of California held about 1,000 transgenic animals and biological materials with at least 20 pathogens, including COVID-19, said Chief of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov.
"In March 2023, a ‘clandestine’ laboratory conducting activities with pathogenic microorganisms was discovered in an abandoned industrial building in Reedley, California. It contained about 30 refrigerators and freezers, thermostats and equipment for cultivating microorganisms. About 1,000 transgenic laboratory animals and about 800 samples of biomaterials were found on the laboratory’s premises. Analysis by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed the presence of at least 20 pathogens in the samples, including COVID-19, HIV and hepatitis pathogens," he said at a news conference dedicated to the analysis of documents related to US military biological activities.
An investigation revealed that the laboratory had been operating since October 2022 with gross violations of basic biosecurity principles, according to Kirillov. He said laboratory animals were kept in unsatisfactory conditions, leading to their death. The disposal of biomaterials, including blood, tissue and serum samples, was carried out without complying with the requirements of sanitary norms. The real owner of the laboratory has never been found and the actual purpose of its activities has not been established, the military officer said.
"It should be noted that this is not an isolated case, confirming the lack of proper control over dual-use developments," he said.