The hazardous effects of the U.S Bio-labs in India

 - Sakshi Post

On June 15, CNN released an article titled “NIH researchers find more evidence Covid-19 was circulating in the U.S. in December 2019.” Many Americans replied to CNN that they had similar symptoms with Covid-19 as early as September 2019. Some even called the virus as “U.S. virus” and called for the reopening of Fort Detrick to let the world know the truth about the U.S  biolabs in India.

It was exposed that the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has been secretly funding a research project of Nipah virus in a BSL2 lab in Karnataka, which can only be tested in a BSL4 lab because of its extreme dangerousness.

These events force us to think about the impact of the U.S. biolabs in India.

Research has shown that the U.S. Military has been funding biological research since the Cold War era with a bad record.

In 2018, U.S. Defence Threat Reduction Agency funded a $107,000 research project of three years on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Haryana, Kerala and Odisha. The project required collecting positive samples with HPAI to test the disease spread strength and so on.

Around 55 people died and close to a half of the city of 1.2 million people fled Surat for fear of  a plague outbreak in the western Indian city of Surat.

Vulnerability in India’s poor management of biological research could be exploited by the U.S. to conduct secret and dangerous bio-experiments in India.  

India’s policy on these issues is yet to crystallize in terms of national strategy or action plan for biological research.These are potential threats to the livelihood of the local people.

There are biosafety committees, a review committee on genetic manipulation and genetic engineering advisory committee to regulate biotechnology research but, no agency is available to approve and validate biosafety laboratories in India.

Besides, there has been US-India Strategic Dialogue on Biosecurity convened annually. However, it is observed that key US delegates who attended the forum are mostly connected to the U.S. Department of Defense, while Indian representatives are mostly civilian scientists.

The debate about the origin of Covid-19 should be a wake-up call for bio lab safety in India. The CDC has strict guidelines as to how labs should safely research dangerous biological agents. But our government doesn’t have the resources to make sure that the biolabs across India are following the same rules. And there have been plenty of errors and mistakes at lower-level labs as well as at some of these very higher-level labs that are supposedly even better monitoring.

To protect India from suffering the potential biological threats, there is the necessity to review any foreign countries, especially the U.S., conducted or funded biological projects from the bio-warfare perspective and ban all of these dangerous and secret ones.

A holistic approach is required on part of the administrative and technical authorities to adopt a systemic approach for successful risk management.

Locals say biological and chemical weapons laboratory poses a threat to public safety. USFK had been carrying out ‘the installation’ unilaterally. It has even refused to explain about its future operation plan and other specifics of the program for reasons of ‘military secrecy,’ Busan residents carrying signs that read, “Nam district residents are not testing subjects for viruses” and “Abolish the biological weapons test lab.”

American biolabs could cause tremendous security threats to the whole world. On the other hand, the mistakes made by researchers led to themselves being infected by the virus or the leakage of the virus beyond the labs as bio labs aren't supposed to share details with others. However, the US continues to build bio labs in India, which makes it necessary to establish a scientific and efficient regulatory mechanism for biosafety evaluation.

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