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Conference on Lugar Laboratory in Tbilisi

By Mariam Chanishvili
Friday, July 1
Former MP Nana Devdariani held a conference meeting in Vere Palace Hotel, where she presented an expert paper about the Lugar Bio Laboratory in Tbilisi on June 29.

The Lugar Center is a Georgian facility governed by a Supervisory Board comprised of Georgian Ministers and Deputy Ministers and chaired by the Ministry of Health. The center’s operations are managed by the Georgian National Center for Disease Control.

The main discussion issues during the conference were the harmful and profitable aspects of the Laboratory.

The conference was attended by many public figures, including one of the leaders of United Democratic Movement, Dimitry Lortkipanidze, and a representative of the Laboratory, Ekaterine Adeishvili.

Devdariani briefly told the story of the Lugar Laboratory and the acts associated with it and handed out the advanced copies of the paper. She noted that the society needs to be more informed and more interested in the subject. She also mentioned that recently the head of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev has warned of “a real problem” caused by the growing number of US-controlled laboratories that produce biological weapons.

In 2002, the agreement was reached between the United States and Georgia on cooperation in the area of prevention of proliferation of technology, pathogens and expertise related to the development of biological weapons. In 2009, the building process of the laboratory was officially concluded. The project was worth 100,000 million USD, fully financed by the United States (USA).

By that time, the laboratory was brought under control of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia by Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, directed by then-Prime Minister, Vano Merabishvili.

Devdariani thanked the Georgian Dream ruling party for changing responsibility for the Laboratory's oversight from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Health.

Nowadays, 90 people work in the Laboratory, and 20 of them are foreigners. All staff are paid by the US. By next year, the Georgian government is planning to completely take responsibility over the laboratory and pay the salaries by themselves.

The Georgian Government aims at attracting top scientists from around the world to the Lugar laboratory to work closely in a transparent, collaborative setting to build and promote common public health goals.