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Georgian Gov’t Says Russia Spreads ‘Falsehoods’ on US-Built Lugar Lab in Tbilisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, October 8
The Government representatives say that the Russian government is engaged with spreading of falsehoods about the US-built, highest-standard Lugar Laboratory in Tbilisi and trying to “demonize” the facility and the US.

The statement of the head of the Georgian National Centre of Decease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze came after the non-stop allegations of Russia that the US government uses the lab for illegal human experiments and achieving its “hostile goals” in the region.

Last week Russian Commander of the Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence Troops of Russia Igor Kirilov told the media that Americans keep biological and chemical weapon ammunitions at the lab and that the experiments conducted at the laboratory claimed dozens of lives of Georgian citizens in 2015 and 2016.

Gamkrelidze responded that Russian speculations are a lie and that the lab is open for scientific activities, even for Russian scientists, who have refused to attend the large-scale scientific event at the lab next month.

“Together with Germany we have organized a large-scale international scientific conference on November 14-15 and invited foreign bio-experts. Representatives from 20 different countries will attend the event. Unfortunately, Russians have refused to attend,” Gamkrelidze said.

“The event will once again show that the activities of the lab are absolutely transparent and of high-importance for the region,” Gamkrelidze said.

He stated that it is false as if the Americans own and control the lab.

“The laboratory is fully controlled by the Georgian Health Ministry and receives funding from the Georgian state budget,” Gamkrelidze said.

He said that all clinical-laboratory diagnostic and scientific research requiring the use of a BSL-3 laboratory under international rules is carried out in the Lugar center and “only Georgian researchers have access to the BSL-3 space.”

A biosafety level (BSL) is a set of biocontainment precautions needed to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed laboratory facility. The levels of containment range from the lowest biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) to the highest at level 4 (BSL-4).

“The Lugar Center is a certified Biosafety Level-3 facility that performs a unique role in identifying especially dangerous pathogens, research and public health for the region,” Gamkrelidze added.

The Lugar Lab named after ex-US Senator Richard Lugar was opened in 2013 in Tbilisi.