Recall of the facts
We already told you about the secret preparation of biological weapons by the Soviet authorities which officially caused the death of 64 people, contaminated by the anthrax bacillus.
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To briefly summarize, on 2 April 1979 a defective filter from a Sverdlosk plant was unable to prevent the release into the environment of a cloud of Bacillus anthracis spores which caused pulmonary infection in humans and animals. The USSR, which had signed the Biological Weapons Convention in 1972, tried to hide the accident, but spores recovered from slides of histological sections were identified as originating from a strain responsible for anthrax.
A bief overview of bacteriolgy
Some bacteria can, when they are in an unfavorable environment, form resistance structures called "spores". When resuspended in a favorable culture medium, these spores "germinate" to restore so-called "vegetative" bacteria identical to the original bacterium. The spores are extremely resistant: to time (spores found in the Egyptian mummies have germinated and gave a bacterium such as it was 4000 years ago, to temperature (above 100 ° C), pressure, chemicals (acids, bases, antiseptics ...). Among the bacteria able to sporulate, Bacillus anthracis responsible for the disease of anthrax.
The new developments
Strains recovered from biopsies were recently sequenced by the Northern Arizona University laboratory. The results were published in mBio
It is known that in the 1960s Soviet scientists worked on the genome of a pathogenic strain of B. anthracis in order to make it resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, their intention was to genetically modify it so that it escapes the immune reactions developed by conventional vaccines. This strain could therefore develop in people vaccinated while being resistant to antibiotics!
Such reports had researches deeply worried about what monstrous manipulations were in the Sverdlosk strain.
Compared with the genomes of the existing strains, the strains isolated were identical with some differences: the strain that escaped from the plant has not been genetically manipulated!
Why this type of strain was produced in large quantities?
It is well known since Pasteur that sporulated strains lose their pathogenicity when they are transplanted onto in vitro culture media. In addition, sporulation sets the pathogenicity and the strain that can not turn back becomes less deadly. Therefore we think that this strain which was produced in industrial quantities at Sverdlosk from a highly pathogenic "wild" strain could act as an operational reserve intended to produce pathogenic spores with a minimum of transplanting on culture media so that it doesn’t lose its pathogenic power.
It remains some concern about other bacterial strains
Where are the modified strains resistant to antibiotics and vaccines which have certainly been produced ? Are they stored in the collections of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation?
What happened to the strains of Yersinia pestis (responsible for the plague) manipulated in order not to be detectable by the classical diagnostic tests?
What happened to the strains of Francisella tularensis (responsible for tularemia) genetically modified to be resistant to antibiotics?
What happened to the strains of Legionella (Legionnaire’s disease) modified to escape immune responses?
So many works which experimental reports have been found.