Mission 1 A VERY COLD CASE
Review files from the MSIKA archive to find the name of the facility where the dead biological weapons researchers were working.
#MS79KA page 5
about “Абонентский ящик V-8724”
it means “PO Box V-8724”
All-Union Research Institute for Applied Microbiology 全应用微生物学研究所
Biopreparat’s flagship for weaponizing bacteria was a very large, high-security facility in Obolensk south of Moscow called the All-Union Research Institute for Applied Microbiology. Officially, its employees developed biological pesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis for use in agriculture. Unofficially, the institute was the most militarized of all Biopreparat facilities and was referred to by the code name “PO Box V-8724.” The institute consisted of 90-100 buildings spread over 250 hectares. The centerpiece was Korpus N1, a nine-story building with a floor area of 37,000 m2. The first two floors of N1 housed the administration and control rooms. Floors three to eight contained laboratories, with each floor roughly dedicated to bacteria belonging to the same genus. Each of the six floors had its own aerosol chambers in which the effects of aerosolized formulations of pathogens could be tested on experimental animals. Two hundred laboratory rooms were supplied with filtered air and were run under negative air pressure to prevent escape of pathogens into the environment. The top floor of the building contained a small-scale production unit with fermenters up to 100-liter capacity. More than 4,000 people are estimated to have worked at the institute during the late 1980s. The Obolensk institute focused primarily on developing Francisella tularensis and Bacillus anthracis strains resistant to current vaccines and multiple antibiotics. For instance, in 1986, scientists involved in the Bonfire/Metol subprogram developed a strain of Bacillus anthracis able to resist seven or eight antibiotics commonly used for cases with anthrax. During 1987-1988, similar multidrug-resistant strains were created for Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Another Bonfire/Metol project was the successful trans-fer of a gene encoding the Bacillus cereus virulence factor cereolysin into the closely related Bacillus anthracis. This novel strain proved to be highly immunosuppressive and avoided anthrax vaccine-induced immune responses. Within the Factor subprogram, bacteria, such as Legionella pneumophila, were also manipulated to express fragments of myelin, the insulating substance surrounding neuronal axons. These fragments provoked an immune response in infected animals, thereby leading to an attack of the immune system against the animal’s own myelin. In test animals, temporary pneumonia developed as expected for legionella infection, but in addition, the infection caused brain damage, paralysis and near lethality similar to the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. Another Factor project was the creation of a recom-binant Yersinia pestis strain that expressed diphtheria toxin.