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Engineering techniques, developedwith the hope of curing geneticdiseases, could also be used tocause harm. Knowledge of thestructure of the human genome willincreasingly lead to knowledge of itsfunction, and this knowledge willmake it possible to manipulate.Modern biotechnology thus presentshumanity with both a greatpromise, to better health and life inpeace, and a great peril, to multiplysickness and death in war.
In response to suspected biological warfare developmentin Nazi Germany, the U.S., U.K., and Canada initiated abiological warfare development program in 1941 that resultedin the development of anthrax, brucellosis, and botulism toxin.Fear of the German program turned out to be vastlyexaggerated. The center for U.S. military biological warfareresearch was Fort Detrick, Maryland. The biological weaponsdeveloped during that period were tested at the DugwayProving Grounds in Utah. Research carried out in the U.K.during World War II left Gruinard Island in Scotlandcontaminated with anthrax for the next 48 years.
Special attention has to be laid on future experiments (ofconcern) that……….22.214.171.124.5.
AnthraxA bacterial agent that, although not contagious, is lethal if inhaled.SmallpoxA highly contagious viral agent. It has a very high death rate and travelsthrough air easily.PlagueAnother bacterial agent but this one is highly contagious. It causes atype of pneumonia that is lethal if not caught early. Has an incubationperiod of 1-5 days.
EbolaA fever caused by a viral agent. This is extremely lethal and leads tobleeding from all organs. There is no cure or treatment.BotulinumA toxin that causes muscular paralysis resulting in death.In the US in 2001, botulin was sent through the post to addresses suchas senators and newspapers. Although this did indeed lead to thedeaths of five people, the resulting panic throughout the countryshowed just how quickly an attack could destabilize a nation.
The threat of bioterrorism shouldbe included in every country’s planand structure to deal withdisasters. These plans should bemultispectral and supported bytraining of all sectors and desktopsimulation exercises. These plansshould cover detection, diagnosisand response. Plans should includean inventory of the human andphysical resources available.
Anthrax does not spread from person to person, butcanbe made into a powder that can, with relativeease, be made into a form that is easily dispersed.A network of laboratories is necessary to identifythe infectious agent.Currently, a good anthrax vaccine is notavailable. TheUnited States of America has stepped up itsresearch on new anthrax vaccines. Now the bestresponse to exposure is prophylaxis with antibioticsfor 60 days after exposure. Anthrax is greatlysensitive to a wide array of antibiotics other thanciprofloxacin. Penicillin and doxycycline arerecommended.
USE OF BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS ACT 1992BIOLOGICAL WEAPONSANTI-TERRORISM ACT 1989