Russia Developing Infection-'Neutralization' System

Global Security Newswire Staff

The Russian Defense Ministry has ordered the development of a computerized biological threat-neutralization system that by the end of 2014 would be able to analyze bacterial and viral DNA in approximately an hour, devise a vaccine and plan for its manufacture, Izvestia reported.

The backbone of the five-component system will be named Berkut-1 and is to analyze and forecast how a given biological threat will occur, as well as provide options for combating the threat. The Berkut-1 component will rely on a database of lethal viruses and bacteria to provide medical suggestions and course-of-treatment options.

Other components will be responsible for analysis of the infectious agent's nucleic acids, determining mechanisms to combat the pathogen, physical creation of vaccine tablets, and the maintenance and control of vaccine production.  

The state-of-the-art system will be developed for an estimated cost of 284 million rubles, or approximately $8.6 million, according to the news service. It is to be built in the city of Kirov nearly 600 miles northeast of Moscow, where a Defense Ministry biological institute is located.

Meanwhile, top Russian public health official Gennady Onishchenko said last week that he thinks there is a relationship between the spread of African swine fever in Russia and a U.S. Navy biological laboratory that is based on Georgian territory, Interfax reported. Onishchenko said that Russian specialists who visited the research facility saw machinery capable of mass-producing pathogenic agents.

Onishchenko's claims that biological-arms activities are occurring at the lab have been rebuffed by an American diplomat.