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Proximity of US Labs to Russian Borders Poses High Risk, Health Watchdog Says

CC0 / / Central Public Health Reference Laboratory in Tbilisi, Georgia
Central Public Health Reference Laboratory in Tbilisi, Georgia - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The risks posed by the proximity of US-funded biological laboratories to the Russian borders are very high and can be mitigated by the so-called Sanitary Shield facilities, among other things, Anna Popova, the head of Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said.
"One of the biological risks is the development of synthetic biology. Our vaccines are assembled from various amino acids, they simulate the proteins of a particular pathogen. But in the same way, today it is possible to assemble a pathogen. Of course, the risks are very high. We and colleagues from other departments understand this. We are fighting the threat," Popova said.
The "Sanitary Shield" package of legislative and executive measures is one of the elements of protecting the Russian population from such threats, Popova noted and urged the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to join the facility.
"The [CIS] space is common, and we have common measures. Of course, the 'Shield' must be common today. We have an instruction from the President of the Russian Federation to cooperate with colleagues from CIS countries in order to help them restore lost research base for working with pathogens of a high hazard class," Popova said.
In 2019, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev announced that the United States had put more than 200 biological laboratories into operation around the world, including in countries neighbouring Russia, such as Georgia and Ukraine.
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