Smallpox was eliminated in the world in the s thanks to a worldwide vaccination program. However, some virus are still available in russian and american laboratories.
Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense, 2nd Edition
It is also believed it could be available in other labs. Botulism : Botulism is one the deadliest toxins caused by a bacteria. Botulism causes respiratory failure and paralysis. Ebola : Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever. It is extremely lethal, with no cure. The symptoms are profuse bleeding from the orifices. Plague : Plague is a highly contagious bacteria. It causes a type of pneumonia and may be fatal. Marburg : Marburg is a viral hemorrhagic disease. But, it came to a halt in , when President Nixon reviewed the program, decided it was wrong, and ordered the destruction of all weapons.
Part of the decision was due to the availability in nuclear defense, which, it was thought, made it unnecessary to develop biological weapons since it would make it possible for other countries to develop them as well. Today, several countries have or are developing biological warfare programmes. According to the U. Offensive biological weapons were banned by the multi-lateral treaty.
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The goal of the treaty was to eliminated biological weapon systems. In , countries had signed the treaty. Until recently in the United States of America, most biological defense strategies have been geared to protecting soldiers on the battlefield rather than ordinary people in cities. Researchers are also working to counter potential attacks using several innovative technological strategies. For example, promising research with biorobots or microchip-mechanized insects with computerized artificial systems that mimic biological processes such as neural networks, and can test responses to substances of biological or chemical origin.
These insects can, in a single operation, process DNA, screen blood samples, scan for disease genes, and monitor genetic cell activity. The robotics program of the Defense Advanced Research Project DARPA works to rapidly identify bio-responses to pathogens, and for designs to effectively and rapidly treat them. Biosensor technology is the driving force in the development of biochips for detection of biological and chemical contaminants. Bees, beetles, and other insects outfitted with sensors are used to collect real-time information about the presence of toxins or similar threats.
Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense
Using fiber optics or electrochemical devices, biosensors have detected microorganisms in chemicals and foods, and offer the promise of rapid identification of biogenic agents following a bioterrorist attack. The early accurate identification of biogenic agents is critical to implementing effective response and treatment protocols. To combat biological agents, bioindustries are developing a wide range of antibiotics and vaccines.
In addition, advances in bioinformatics i. In addition to detecting and neutralizing attempts to weaponize biogenic agents i. For example, researchers are analyzing many pathogens in an effort to identify common genetic and cellular components. Regardless whether the pathogens evolve naturally or are engineered, the identification of common traits will assist in developing counter measures i.
See also Contamination ; Genetic identification of microorganisms. Drexler, Madeline. Joseph Henry Press, Koehler, T. New York : Springer-Verlag, Tucker, Jonathan. Glass, Thomas and Monica Schoch-Spana. Inglesby, Thomas V, et. Bioterrorism is the deliberate use of microorganisms or the poisonous compounds that can be produced by some microbes as weapons.
Bioterrorism can be a well-organized government sanctioned weapons development program, or can involve a small group of people dedicated to their particular cause. In the past, the weapons employed by nations were more easily recognizable and defendable.
For example, surveillance allows missile silos to be detected, and counter-strategies put in place to deal with the launch of the missiles. Microorganisms, however, by virtue of their small size can be readily hidden from detection. A vial of anthrax spores — small enough to conceal in a pocket — can be released into the ventilation system of a building.
The ability to protect against the use of biological weapons is becoming recognized as one of the paramount security issues facing nations such as the United States.
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The need for protective measures against bioterrorism was dramatically evident in the aftermath of the September 11, terrorist attacks on the United States , when a lethal form of the anthrax bacterium that could be inhaled was mailed to U. The form that readiness and response strategies should take is the subject of much public debate. A range of protective options exist. These include the mass production and stockpiling of antibiotics i. However, no single solution will provide protection against the many potential biological weapons. Indeed, an argument has been made that a targeted response e.
The various protective measures to bioterrorism can be divided into three general categories. These are strategic, tactical, and personal measures. Strategic deterrence can involve international cooperation. As of June , this deterrence was pointed at states — in particular Iraq — that have programs to develop or use biological weapons, or which provide aid to bioterrorists.
Tactical measures involve the use of devices or weapons to detect or eliminate potential biological weapons.
- Russian Biodefense Efforts and Their Likely Objectives.
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The United States has a variety of tactical non-nuclear options, which include precision-guided conventional thermal fuel-air bombs. In the s military campaigns in the Gulf region, for example, these bombs were used to destroy facilities that were suspected of being factories for the production of biological warfare agents and weaponry. Terrorist operations are enigmatic and elusive.
As a result, these large-scale military responses offer protection against only the largest, identifiable, and targetable enemies. Such responses are inadequate when the hostility is due a small number of people operating in a clandestine way in other countries, or even citizens targeting their own country. For example, according to expert testimony before the Congress, for less than 10, U. Surveillance of every structure in a country is beyond the scope of established security agencies and, in a democratic country, would severely curtail individual liberties.
Reestablishing offensive weapons programs is a contentious issue. An argument has been made that an offensive program would further the understanding of potential biological agents and weapons delivery mechanisms. However, many scientists and physicians argue instead that an offensive program is unneeded and could possibly be detrimental to the development of effective protective measures, because of the diversion of funding from less visible but vital preventative research.
Resumption of an offensive bioweapons programs in the United States would violate the Biological Weapons Convention to which the United States is a signatory. Rather than a polarized offensive-versus-preventative national policy, scientific bodies in the United States that include the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC advocate a balanced and flexible scientific and medical response to the need to develop protective measures against the variety of disease causing pathogens in the arsenal of the bioterrorist.
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- Russian Biodefense Efforts and Their Likely Objectives;
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Preparedness programs designed to allow a rapid response to bioterrorism also accompany the increased research. The NPS stockpile of antibiotics, vaccines, and other medical treatment countermeasures is can be rapidly deployed to the site of a domestic attack. For example, in the aftermath of the deliberate release of Bacillus anthracis the bacteria that causes anthrax during the terrorist attacks, the United States government and some state agencies were able to quickly provide the antibiotic ciprofloxacin Cipro to those potentially exposed to the bacterium. Following these bioterrorist attacks, increase funding for the NPS was authorized.
The additional funds will help train medical personnel in the early identification and treatment of disease caused by the most likely pathogens.
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