A top Russian general has blamed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a possible role in the emergence of COVID-19 through its program on bat control.
“We consider a possibility that the USAID is involved in the emergency of the novel coronavirus,” Russian Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops commander General Igor Kirillov said on Thursday.
The Russian commander said that “since 2009, USAID funded the PREDICT program, which focused on studying novel coronaviruses and capturing bats that transmit these viruses. One of the program’s contractors was Metabiota, notorious for its military biological operations in Ukraine,” Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
He added that statements made by the US congressmen also raise concerns about the biologists’ role in the emergence and outbreak of COVID-19.
Kirillov also cited a member of the US House Intelligence Committee, Jason Crow, who warned US citizens during the National Security Conference in July against handing over their DNA samples to private companies as they could be sold to third parties.
With regard to the US administration’s interest in researching focused action biological means, he said, “such statements provide a new angle on the reasons behind the emergence of the novel coronavirus infection and the spread of the COVID-19 pathogen.”
He further described Johns Hopkins University Event 201 as another factor that can raise the possibility of US involvement in the coronavirus outbreak.
Event 201 was an exercise organized in October 2019 to simulate what might happen if there was a “high-level” pandemic.
“According to the exercise background, [the coronavirus] was transmitted from bats to humans through an intermediate carrier – pigs. This is how the Spanish flu, which took lives of tens of millions of human lives, became a pandemic,” Kirillov noted.
The Russian commander claimed that due to the implementation of the COVID-19 development scenario, as well as the emergency shutdown of the PREDICT program in 2019, the pandemic can be intentional in nature and the US is involved in its emergence.
The coronavirus outbreak first occurred in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
As of August 5, 2022, the ongoing pandemic has caused more than 582 million cases and 6.41 million confirmed deaths, making it one of the deadliest in history.
To date, the origin of SARS-CoV-2 which caused the pandemic has remained unidentified. So far, the scientific evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 likely resulted from viral evolution in nature and jumped to people or through some unidentified animal host.
Because the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 have not yet been identified, allegations have been made about various research programs led by the countries such as the US and China.
Public health and scientific organizations are engaged in a continued international effort to uncover the origins of SARS-CoV-2, which is essential to preventing future pandemics.