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Monkeypox Bioweapon: Conspiracy Theorists Link Outbreak In Europe To Fire At Russian Smallpox Lab In The ’90s

Monkeypox Bioweapon: Conspiracy Theorists Link Outbreak In Europe To Fire At Russian Smallpox Lab In The ’90s

monkeypox

Photo: Mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, are seen under an electron microscope image provided by the CDC from a sample of human skin associated with a 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

Conspiracy theorists have linked the outbreak of monkeypox in Europe and NATO countries that are not endemic for the virus to an accidental leak in Russia caused by a fire at an alleged smallpox lab in the 1990s.

A 20-year-old report by UPI suggested that Russia was experimenting with monkeypox, a close but less severe cousin of the smallpox virus, in its bioweapons program dating as far back as the early 1990s.

The Russian biowarfare experts are also known to have worked with the virus in the Soviet Union’s biological weapons program.

Monkeypox is related to smallpox with similar symptoms, but with a more severe rash. Patients usually start with a fever, sore muscles, swollen lymph nodes and headaches. Generally, after one to three days, a distinct bumpy rash begins to develop.

Some are concerned that it’s being used as a bioweapon as it’s breaking out in mostly NATO countries and may be showing faster contagion than historical norms. Scientists are baffled about why the virus has reached Europe and the West, instead of remaining confined to Africa, where it is usually seen.


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Monkeypox endemic countries include Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan.

There is at least one claim from a former Soviet scientist, Kanat Alibekov, that Russia was considering using the virus as a bioweapon. Alibekov was the deputy head of the country’s biological weapons program until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“We started a special program to find out which ‘model’ virus of interest can be used for human smallpox. We used vaccinia virus, mousepox virus, rabbitpox virus and monkeypox virus as model viruses for smallpox,” the former scientist told Daily Mirror.

“Our idea was that all research and development work would be done using these model viruses. Once we start getting positive results, the smallpox virus will be manipulated and within two weeks it will be ready for war.”

Alibekov said he oversaw 32,000 employees in more than 40 facilities.

Nigeria – which reports about 3,000 monkeypox cases a year, usually in rural areas where people hunt and consume bush meat such as squirrels — has not reported any cases. The cases in Nigeria usually result in very few death.

Mass vaccinations against smallpox have helped the Russian population develop herd immunity to the monkeypox virus, according to a May 23 report by the country’s government-controlled media outlet Tass.

The Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR) has developed a kit that can be used to detect positive pox viruses including monkeypox.

A Russian lawmaker claimed that the U.S. researched ebola and smallpox viruses in Ukraine. Three Russian laboratories researched the claim in 2020.

One version of monkeypox has been found to kill up to 10 percent of people infected. The version currently in England is milder — its fatality rate is less than 1 percent. A case of monkeypox generally resolves in two to four weeks.

The rare and potentially dangerous monkeypox has been confirmed in the U.S. in a man who recently traveled to Canada, with two new U.K. cases bringing the total there to nine. It follows reports of scattered cases in Europe, Bloomberg reported.

While the virus does not spread easily among people, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that its transmission can occur through contact with body fluids and other areas that have been contaminated with the fluids or sores such as clothing and beddings.

An outbreak of the monkeypox virus in North America and Europe is primarily spreading through sex among men with about 200 confirmed and suspected cases across at least a dozen countries, WHO said.

Photo: Mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, are seen under an electron microscope image provided by the CDC from a sample of human skin associated with a 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)