| || Defending against biological attack : Importance of biotechnology in preparadness
Author : Graham, S.Pearson;Roberts, Brad
Source : Defence Science Journal ; Vol:51(4) ; 2001 ; pp 377-392
Subject : 60 Biotechnology
Keywords : Biotechnology;Biological weapons;Biological warfare;Counter insurgency;Biological warfare programme
Abstract : "The danger of biological warfare has rightly received increasing attention during the past decade. Although 143 State Parties have signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), there have been reports of around a dozen states possessing or seeking to possess biological weapons. There is even a view that the potential threat from biological and chemical weapons is greater than that from nuclear weapons. Biological warfare programme are also being considered for counter-insurgency use and tactical applications in the regional conflicts. Even small groups appear to have the means to launch a biological attack, an example of which was the attack with the nerve gas, sarin, in a Tokyo subway, in 1994, Defence against biological attacks has so far received little attention.This article begins with an assessment of the potential biological threat and considers the vulnerabilities of states facing such threat. It then considers the role of political-military coalitions in meeting the challenges of the aggressor and goes on to evaluate and identify the vulnerabilities of coalition partners. It also addresses the measures necessary to minimise those vulnerabilities, by active and passive defence, and examines the role biotechnology in such protective measures. It then briefly surveys the biological warfare defence capabilities of different countries. It concludes with a discussion of policy initiatives useful for addressing gaps by promoting cooperation among the interested parties. The key elements of protective measures against biological and toxin weapons attack are hazard assessment, detection, physical protection, identification and diagnosis, and medical countermeasures. Biotechnology is vital for further advances in all these areas for both civil and military requirements"