The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), working with the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program have helped fund a new, high-security lab in Kazakhstan for the study of dangerous pathogens. The Central Reference Laboratory (CRL), set to open in 2015, will help provide competitive jobs to local scientists, discouraging them from instead selling their skills to the highest bidder. As many of you know, during its height the the Soviet BW program employed approximately 60,000 individuals, of which 10,000 were thought to highly-skilled researchers and scientists. Kazakhstan in particular was a key location for biological weapons facilities. When the USSR halted all offensive BW in 1992, most of these 10,000 scientists suddenly found themselves unemployed – programs like these have therefore been critical to preventing proliferation of knowledge.
Reminiscent of the former Soviet “plague stations”, the CRL will focus in particular on Yersinia pestis, which is endemic in the area.
Read more on the lab here.
(image credit: William Weih/DTRA)