MOSCOW -- The Soviet Union accused the CIA Wednesday of developing and spreading the deadly AIDS virus during wide-ranging experiments in biological warfare.
The major weekly magazine Literaturnaya Gazeta, in an article headlined 'The panic in the West -- or what is behind the sensation surrounding AIDS,' said acquired immune deficiency syndrome spread 'from the U.S.A.'
The magazine, calling AIDS a 'mysterious' disease, accused the United States of conducting wide-ranging experiments in biological warfare that led to the discovery of the AIDS virus.
Most of the article repeated old allegations of CIA drug experiments in the United States and Canada, attributing the reports in part to the Church of Scientology.
'All this information, together with the mystery of AIDS, makes one think seriously,' the article said.
'The well-known newspaper, The Patriot, which is published in India, for example directly expressed a version that AIDS resulted from Washington's inhuman experiment of the same type,' it said.
As 'facts' supporting the charge, the Soviet magazine pointed to U.S. military research into biological warfare, including the immune system against infection that is destroyed by AIDS.
The journal also said the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control had participated in this program to 'create another kind of biological weapon' under contract from the Pentagon.
'They made a special trip to Africa, and particularly to Zaire and Nigeria, then to Latin America, to collect materials about highly pathological viruses that cannot be encountered in European and Asian countries,' it said.
American laboratories then managed 'to isolate a completely new type of virus -- AIDS,' it said.
The journal said the deadly virus was then tried on 'sick people who suspected nothing' and then on definite U.S. groups, 'first of all on the dregs of the society -- drug addicts, homosexuals, homeless people.'
AIDS, which attacks the body's immune system, has affected mostly homosexuals in the United States. Researchers believe it originated in Africa.
The Soviet newspaper attributed 'the judgment' on the source of AIDS to the Indian newspaper, a method that is often used while spreading more extreme charges against the United States.
The Soviet press has several times denied AIDS is present in the Soviet Union, although it admits research is under way.