Soviet Bulletin Says AIDS Leaked from U.S. Laboratory
MOSCOW (AP) _ A Soviet military bulletin claims the virus that causes AIDS leaked from a U.S. Army laboratory conducting biological warfare experiments, the Tass news agency reported Monday.
The report was one of several containing similar charges by the Soviet Union that began appearing in 1986 and have been denied by U.S. authorities.
An article in the current issue of the Novosti Military Bulletin says the deadly virus is of ″artificial origin,″ Tass said.
The article was written by Peter Nikolayev, who said he was reporting conclusions of U.S., British and East German scientists, Tass said. It did not identify the scientists.
The article said the U.S. Army laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md. was once the army’s center for the development of biological weapons.
Similar Soviet reports first appeared more than a year ago. The Pentagon and State Department have denied them. The Pentagon, which no longer responds to the Soviet reports, says the Fort Detrick lab never experimented with AIDS.
Tass said that, in 1977, a ″safe″ system was developed at Fort Detrick for working with dangerous pathogens. Even so, Tass quoted the Novosti bulletin as saying, the virus that causes AIDS leaked from the laboratory.
AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is a fatal affliction in which the body’s immune system becomes unable to resist disease. There is no cure for the illness, which is most often transmitted through sexual contact.
The Tass report did not directly charge the United States with creating AIDS but appeared to renew previously published Soviet allegations that the virus might have been the result of a U.S. military experiment.
In a separate report Monday, Tass said a 1981 U.S. Army manual provides transportation rules for 30 different toxins or pathogens.
In October, the Soviet newspaper Literaturnaya Gazeta carried a long article on AIDS and suggested it might be the result of Pentagon or CIA experiments.
Earlier this month, Soviet scientist Viktor Zhdanov said 32 AIDS cases have been registered in the Soviet Union. He said all but two of the cases involved foreigners.