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Development of ‘combat’ viruses against individual nations impossible now — scientist

Albert Rizvanov, director of the Kazan Federal University’s Institute of precision and regenerative medicine called discussion of genetic security of certain states "politicized rather than scientifically grounded"

MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Development of "combat" viruses that would affect individual nationalities would be technically impossible and unfeasible in practice, but, in theory, such research is possible, says Albert Rizvanov, director of the Kazan Federal University’s Institute of precision and regenerative medicine.

"Yes, in theory, such weapons could be developed, but, so far, these are only theoretical researches without any practical confirmations. […] Biological weapons are too indiscriminate, which makes them unappealing for states: the developer state’s population will suffer anyway. So, ideas of focused ‘combat’ viruses are science fiction today. First of all, because population of the US, EU, Russia and other states is very genetically diverse. And it would be practically unfeasible and even technically impossible to develop a strain that would affect only one nationality without affecting others," the expert said.

The scientist called discussion of genetic security of certain states "politicized rather than scientifically grounded."

"This is all rhetoric, because it is impossible to ban people from travelling around the world, and every person carries a DNA inside. […] Those who want to do so, can gather information without even leaving their state. For example, there are millions of Russian-speakers living in the US, of all kinds of nationalities. But the main obstruction is, as I said, states becoming increasingly multi-national, and it would be impossible to create a selective action weapon by definition, because the citizens are of different nationalities," the scientist said.

The origin of Covid

Speaking about the possibility of laboratory origin of the SARS-CoV-2, the researcher pointed out that this version has no ground.

"Scientists have researches the coronavirus genome inside and out. As of now, most of them are not inclined to consider it artificially engineered. Most likely, COVID-19 is of natural origin, and the strains that appear today are also natural. Because it is possible to determine their genealogy with more or less high probability," Rizvanov explained.

On August 4, Russian Defense Ministry stated that it considers a possibility that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) could be involved in the emergence of the novel coronavirus. According to the Ministry, the USAID was funding a program since 2009, which focused on research of coronaviruses and capturing bats - their natural carriers. Prior to the Covid pandemic, the Johns Hopkins University held the Event 201 exercise, which focused on actions amid an epidemic of an unknown coronavirus.