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Int’l Experts Say US-Founded Lugar Lab Not Dangerous for People

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, November 19
The conclusion of international experts reads that the work in the US-established Lugar Laboratory in Georgia works only for disease prevention and does not pose threat to health.

The statement was made by the Head of the Disease Control Centre (NCDC) of the Ministry of Health of Georgia Amiran Gamkrelidze.

He noted that the report of the experts, who visited and checked the lab, is positive, saying the lab activities are transparent and safe.

“According to the experts’ assessment, the laboratory operates within the international standards. More importantly, they concluded that in addition to the prevention, early detection and work of human protection for the health there are no other works underway in the lab. This is a high-level public, health and scientific research laboratory,” Gamkrelidze stated.

Richard Lugar laboratory, which became operational in August 2013, is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory of Georgia’s public health system.

The project started in 2004, after the USA – Georgia Umbrella Agreement was signed in 1997 and the USA – Georgia Implementing Agreement signed in 2002 about “Cooperation in the Area of Prevention of Proliferation of Technology, Pathogens and Expertise Related to the Development of Biological Weapons.”

The laboratory has many times been accused by Russia and Kremlin media of “carrying out experiments on people and testing a highly toxic chemical or biological agent.”

In addition to this, Commander of the Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops of Russia Igor Kirilov said in early October that “illegal experiments on humans in the lab led to the death of more than 73 people in 2015 and 2016.”

In mid-October, Russian President Vladimir Putin also joined the disinformation campaign against the Lugar Research Center located in Tbilisi following allegations from the high officials of the Russian government and state media.

Putin talked about the use of biological weapons in the Lugar Center based on Georgia's former Minister of Defense Igor Giorgadze and noted that "the credibility of the message cannot be judged, but if it is true, it is outrageous."

The Russian President stated that it was reported by some sources that in the Lugar Lab there are the latest achievements in the field of genetics, adding they elaborate such medicines that can affect people and their national origin.

The head of the NCDC says the report of the international experts on Lugar lab will be published on their website soon.