Biological Warfare Agents

Dev Vrat Kamboj, Ajay Kumar Goel, Lokendra Singh


There is a long historic record of use of biological warfare (BW) agents by warring countries
against their enemies. However, the frequency of their use has increased since the beginning
of the twentieth century. World war I witnessed the use of anthrax agent against human beings
and animals by Germans, followed by large-scale field trials by Japanese against war prisoners
and Chinese population during world war II. Ironically, research and development in biological
warfare agents increased tremendously after the Geneva Protocol, signed in 1925, because of
its drawbacks which were overcome by Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in
1972. Biological warfare programme took back seat after the 1972 convention but biological
agents regained their importance after the bioterrorist attacks of anthrax powder in 2001. In the
light of these attacks, many of which turned out to be hoax, general awareness is required about
biological warfare agents that can be used against them. This review has been written highlighting
important biological warfare agents, diseases caused by them, possible therapies and other
protection measures.


Biological warfare agents; biological warfare; weapons of mass destruction; BTWC; Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention; biodefence; bacterial agents; viral agents; toxins

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Defence Science Journal (DSJ)