Double standards of reference laboratories in Kazakhstan

Report by Ayman Sadvakas, Master of Medical Sciences of Kazakhstan at the conference "Strengthening the threat of the use of biological weapons by NATO against the background of aggravation of international contradictions".

Highly infectious diseases are the diseases, which can be transmitted from an animal and a human to a human. They can cause mass outbreaks with high lethality quickly spreading over vast territories killing a great number of people (epidemic outbreaks and epidemics). Among the most dangerous infections there are plague, cholera, anthrax, tularemia, diseases caused by Zika virus, Ebola, yellow fever, dengue fever, Rift Valley fever, West Nile fever, Сongo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever and others.

Infections have no borders, that is why, to curb the outbreaks, epidemics, pandemics of highly infectious diseases in time, it is necessary to introduce not only such advanced technological means as laboratory equipment, personal protective equipment but implement trainings of medical and laboratory personnel, epidemic service and veterinary service staff for due control over the particularly dangerous infections.

Laboratory identification of the pathogen is decisive in diagnosing highly infectious diseases. Primary laboratory diagnosis is carried out by the laboratories in primary care institutions. Should the first hotbeds of infectious diseases appear, it is hospital and primary care institution laboratories, that diagnose the disease. At the same time, it is healthcare reference laboratories, rather than Central reference laboratory, which control the quality of laboratory research. 

There are following types of reference labs in Kazakhstan:
Reference – laboratory in the sphere of biosafety (Central reference laboratory)
Reference-laboratories of healthcare institutions

The Central reference laboratory was established in Almaty in September 2016 and was constructed within the frameworks of the agreement between US defense ministry and energy and resource ministry of Kazakhstan on elimination of mass destruction weapon infrastructure. 100 million dollars was spent to finance the agreement. The laboratory has the third level of biosafety. The strains of plague, cholera, anthrax, brucellosis and other dangerous diseases are kept there. 

In the Amendment to the agreement as of the second of April, 2003 (paragraph 3, article 3) within joint scientific biological research and epidemic monitoring it is specified that Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry of Kazakhstan. shall assist in transferring the requested pathogen samples to US Defense Ministry as well as informing the US Defense Ministry on epidemic situation in Central Asia. The main task of the Central Reference laboratory is accumulation and processing of data, received from zonal biological station, and the study of the newly found pathogenic biological agents.

From 2008 to 2020 the state scientific and technical program was carried out on the Development of Scientific Bases of Unified for Republic of Kazakhstan system of monitoring, diagnosing and germ collecting of the agents, causing particularly dangerous, recurrent reemerging and imported infections. The purpose of the program was developing national standards of microbiological monitoring of the pathogens causing quarantine and highly dangerous recurrent, reemerging and imported infections, genetic identification of the strains, forming scientific ground for providing safety and expanding the collection of infection pathogens

Informing the USA Defense Ministry on the collection of pathogens questions the charitable and humanitarian character of the Pentagon efforts to build the Central reference laboratory in Almaty, since modern genetics techniques and biotechnologies allow to modify the properties of the known pathogenic bacteria and adjust them to racial and genetic peculiarities of particular population groups, even such specific characters, as nationality, age, gender, etc.

Here is a list of reference-laboratories of Kazakhstan Healthcare Ministry Institutions.
They are 

Blood Service Reference laboratory “Scientific and Industrial Center of Transfusiology (Hemotransfusion),

Tuberculosis Reference laboratory “National Scientific Center of Phthisiopulmonology,

HIV Reference Laboratory “Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases’,

Viral Diseases Reference Laboratory at the branch of “Scientific and Practical Center of Sanitary and Epidemic Expertise and Monitoring”,

Particularly Dangerous Diseases Reference Laboratory at the Branch of Scientific and Practical Center of Sanitary and Epidemic Expertise and Monitoring,

Bacterial Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance laboratory at the branch of Scientific and Practical Center of Sanitary and Epidemic Expertise and Monitoring,

Parasitic Infections Reference Laboratory at the branch of Scientific and Practical Center of Sanitary and Epidemic Expertise and Monitoring.

It should be noted that the status of a reference laboratory was assigned by the Healthcare Ministry, though such status must be assigned through its accreditation procedure

In the international practice reference laboratories are aimed at improving the quality assessment of laboratory tests, achieving analytical accuracy, reliability, and informativeness of lab research.

Nevertheless, the tasks of the above mentioned laboratories such as introducing standard lab techniques, external quality assessment and improvement of the quality assessment system in accordance with the International Organization for Standartization (ISO) 15189  are hardly implemented. Consequently, laboratory service of Kazakhstan Healthcare, on the whole, does not comply with the international standards as far as there is hardly any system of quality control at any stages of lab tests.

Clinical test quality control is a regular implementation of a system of measures aimed at identifying and preventing unavailable errors, which can take place in the course of laboratory tests. For example, you are to identify the type of pathogenic agent causing brucellosis – brucella bacteria: B. abortus (from the cattle), B melitensis (from sheep and goats), B suis (from pigs) B canis (from dogs). Should there be some incompetent low-qualified employees, they can either mistakenly name another germ instead of Brucella or fail to identify the causative agent at all and state negative result. 

For example, during COVID-19 pandemic Viral Infection Reference Laboratory in Almaty failed to verify the quality of PCR tests made in Kazakhstan, because it used an outdated thermocycler. Besides, there was neither internal nor external PCR test control, which led to false negative results, the number of which exceeded the permissible error margin. 

The department of clinical laboratory diagnosis at Kazakh National Medical University provided scientific and organization basis for the training medical lab staff. It was also in charge of quality control issues. The department was closed in 2019. The American citizen Almaz Sharman a representative of the ruling clan of Kazakh healthcare had much to do with it. In mass media Almaz Sharman positions himself as an immunologist, the president of Prophylactic Medicine Academy, a member of American association.

However, it is hardly ever known what scientific experts assessed the achievements and the professional competence of Almaz Sharman. The professionalism of Almaz Sharman has so far been connected with Academy of Nutrition on the certification of biologically active food additives and specialized food products, as he is the successor of his father – the President of Food Academy.

In 2020 Daniel Synger, the Director of Disease Control Center at US Healthcare Ministry discussed the minutes of treatment for Covid 19 with Almaz Sharman. When Almaz Sharman suggested producing cocktails from antibodies, Mr. Daniel Synger remarked that antibodies must be detected first, then cutting edge laboratories and capacities are needed to produce the cocktails. This dialogue underlines the incompetence of Almaz Sharman about the necessity of advanced laboratories in solving scientific problems.

In December 2021 in his interview Almaz Sharman lobbied for the interests of Pfizer and Moderna, mentioning that they are highly effective against Omikron variant. Presently, however, there have been revealing publications about Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. On the 9th of January 2023, for example, the Defender site published an article proving that Pfizer has a long history of fraud, corruption and using children as guinea pigs.

On the 4th of Feb 2023 the site Health impact news published the article titled ’44-year-old Thai Princess Bajrakitiyabha in coma after Pfizer Covid shots – Thailand to nullify contract with Pfizer’

It is also known that pharmaceutical industry in the USA is an absolute global leader in the sphere of biopharmaceutical research, carrying out 80% of research and development in the sphere of biotechnologies in the world. Due to its dependence from patents the US pharmaceutical industry works in a very secret environment and there are concerns that the transparency prescribed by the Biological Weapons Convention (The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction) can lead to huge losses in the industry. 

How can one take preventive measures in the biosafety sphere should a particularly dangerous disease outbreak take place if the quality of lab research of Kazakhstan does not comply with the international standards? This is one side of the issue.

Another side of the issue is the lack of quality of lab microbiological and genetic research of healthcare institutions due to the low qualification of the staff, lack of advanced equipment, and enhanced interest to the Central reference lab controlling particularly dangerous pathogenic agents raises questions about tackling the problems of biosafety for peaceful purposes, rather than military ones.

Creation of new generation bioweapon in the framework of double technologies on the basis of genetic engineering able to add the properties which hamper diagnosis of the disease and treatment with conventional medicine poses a real threat
Thus, the double standards of reference laboratories in Kazakhstan controlling the tests quality undermine confidence in providing and securing international criteria of biosafety.
 A.S. Sadvakas,
 MSс in Health Sciences

February 25, 2023

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