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Dilini Kekulawala

on 28 November 2013

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- highly toxic

- easily obtainable

- inexpensive to produce

- easily transferable from person-person

- dispersed easily throughout (e.g. aerosol)

- have no known vaccine
What is it?
materials produced from
organisms or artificially manufactured, used to intentionally interfere with

of a
Offensive Warfare
Defensive Warfare
Rapid Detection
Faster Action to Control
the Spread
The Ripple Effect:
Biological Weapon
rush of antibiotics.
Rush of antibiotics
not enough for everyone.
If there is not enough antibiotics
no one goes to work.
No one goes to work
economic collapse.
Real Bioweapon Threats
The First Recorded Bioweapon
First Sacred War
595 B.C. to 585 B.C.
The Greeks
poisoned the water supply
of the city Kirrha with the
Hellebore root
causing horrific side effects resulting in
from cardiac arrest.
Annihilation of the Kirrha population resulted in a
collapse of the city.
Policies and Regulations
Components that make a Bioweapon better
Economic Issues
Are We Prepared?
Hospitals and doctors are currently
not prepared
for a biological attack.
However, there is a large economic impact to become prepared.
Center for Biodiversity has estimated it would cost:
$5 billion annually
to prepare for a B.W. attack.
$1 million for a small
(20 bed) hospital.
$10 million for a large
urban medical center.

Molecular Biology Techniques
To Enhance Efficiency of Bioweapons
Ethical Issues:
Fun Facts
- a dozen members of the UN are suspected of having ongoing bioweapons programs

- Even during WWII, Japanese concentration camps used POWs as guinea pigs for bioweapon experiments

- everyday, more and more people become capable of producing a bioweapon

- in 1995, Iraq admitted to having a bioweapon program after 4+ years of UN investigations

- "the first world war was chemical, the second world war was nuclear ... and that the THIRD WORLD WAR - god forbid - WILL BE BIOLOGICAL"
BY: Monica Lindop and Dilini Kekulawala
After 9/11, US senators received threatening letters laced with anthrax (a bioweapon)
5 were killed, 17 became sick
Worst Biological Attack in US History
... and it took so little effort

Drawn up and signed in Geneva, Switzerland
Entered the force in February 8, 1928
Banned the use of Biological Weapons alongside chemical weapons, asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases.

Entered the force in 1975
It banned the research, development, production and stockpiling or acquisition of biological and toxic weapons
155 countries
have acceded to the BWC
Biological Weapons Convention
International Committee of the Red Cross
Geneva Protocol
September 2002 launched an appeal on
"Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity"
to combat BW threats
This is achieved by creating the
"Web of Prevention"
, which is a global network of all those who could help prevent the consequences of biological warfare
Classified as a
"Weapon of mass destruction"
comparable to
mass genocide
does not only target the belligerents, but
innocent civilians

Social Issues
We think that everyone will
"Play by the rules"
Have we been lulled into a false sense of security by believing in the UN and our elected political officials?
Select Agent Program
Comprised of Centers For Disease Control and Prevention of Select Agents and Toxins and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services
Enhances the oversight of the safety and security of select agents.
Taking Control
creating harmful biological agents
Natural state of agent + Genetic Engineering = even more harmful
How are they genetically engineered?
- organism maintains its genetic info in form of DNA (or RNA)

- there are some genes that govern an organism's

(it's ability to infect a cell)

- with genetic engineering, pathogenicity
genes are manipulated

-> makes organism more infectious OR more resistant to a therapy/cure
Examples of Offensive Biological Warfare:
2 Soviet Union run programs to develop "super-bugs" during the Cold War
"Known stocks of the smallpox virus should be retained for national security."
"All known stocks of the smallpox virus should be destroyed."
Debatable Questions
What Do
Edward Hammond
John O. Agwunob
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
Idaho's R.A.P.I.D.
(Rugged Advanced Pathogen Identification Device)
- to amplify specific regions of DNA from extremely small quantities
- makes billions of copies of a single DNA strand within minutes
- allows researchers to identify bio agent through its DNA signature
by taking even the tiniest sample
How it works
- each bioweapon has its own unique DNA signature

- therefore, you can quickly identify an agent if you determine its genetic code

- scientists can use different types of techniques and technologies to identify this DNA code
Prevention and Stopping the Spread
- compact, portable detection unit that uses PCR
- identifies the unique DNA signature of the pathogen by:
* extracts DNA/RNA from collected samples
* adds extraction to a mix of reagants that will amplify a particular pathogen's DNA signature
* if the specfic pathogen is present, it will be positively identified
- entire process takes less than 60 minutes
But it's important to be ready before a biological attack actually happens..
- prepare a vaccine with a form of the infectious agent (living, weakened, killed)

- introduce the vaccine into the body
-> activates the immune system
-> antibodies produced against particular agent
Recent Advancement:

of pathogen's DNA genome
used as a vaccine
instead of the entire organism ... helps
eliminate risk of infection
that accompanies traditional vaccines
Two parts:
~ Choose a biological agent

~ Find a way to acquire that agent

~ Grow and multiply until you achieve your sufficient quantity

~ Apply various selection and modification procedures to alter certain traits/ characteristics of microorganism

~ Prepare for delivery

- Binary Biological Weapons
insert plasmids (small bacterial fragments) into DNA to increase virulence
- Gene Therapy
replacing existing genes with harmful genes
- Host Swapping Diseases
genetically modifying animal viruses
- Designer Diseases
designing an agent to induce cells to multiply uncontrollably (cancer)
Classified into:
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