According to The Metro, a former Soviet scientist claimed that until the 1990s, Russia considered using monkeypox as a bioweapon.
Until the Soviet Union’s disintegration in 1991, Kanat Alibekov, also known as Kenneth Alibek, was the Soviet Union’s bioweapons specialist. He then moved to the United States after spending a year in Russia.
In a recently discovered 1998 interview with the American Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project (CBWNP), Alibekov, who allegedly oversaw 32,000 employees across 40 facilities, claimed that the Soviet country had a program to use viruses as weapons.
“As a result, we created a unique software to figure out which model viruses might be employed in place of human smallpox.” As smallpox models, we used vaccinia virus, mousepox virus, rabbitpox virus, and monkeypox virus.”
“The goal was that these model viruses would be used in all research and development.” It would only take two weeks to execute the same manipulations with the smallpox virus and stockpile the warfare agent once we had a set of favorable results.
“We’d have a genetically engineered smallpox virus in our arsenal to replace the old one.”
The expert further stated that following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia’s successor defense ministry continued to experiment with monkeypox to “develop future biological weapons.”
He was called before a US Congress hearing the following year when he stated that he was “convinced that Russia’s biological weapons program has not been entirely disbanded.”
Monkeypox was initially recognized in the 1950s when two outbreaks occurred in study colonies of monkeys, with the first human case recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.
Smallpox, a disease that has been eliminated internationally because of universal immunization against the smallpox virus, is often compared to the condition.
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