Developing, acquiring, stockpiling or careless test in labs are Wrong and against to Humanity and agreed International Conventions. Thinking to target Nations through Biolgical Weapon can be dangerous as a small leak can wipe an entire population.
- TS Chandrashekar
Biological warfare also known as germ warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, insects, and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons are difficult to detect, economical and easy to use. Nation States have developed, acquired, stockpiled or deployed against a single individual, a group of people, or even an entire population.
Biological warfare goes back two millennia. Assyrians poisoned enemy water sources in the 6th century B.C. In 1346, Tartars catapulted bodies of plague victims over the city walls of Caffa in Crimea to break the siege and potentially kick-started a second plague pandemic. In 1650, Polish forces shot their enemies with saliva from rabid dogs.
In Italy, Napoleon flooded Mantua’s plains in an effort to spread malaria. In the United States, Confederate sympathizers allegedly sold clothing from patients with yellow fever and smallpox to Union troops. European settlers spread smallpox with devastating effect among the indigenous American population.
The British used smallpox as a biological weapon in the French and Indian War to target Native Americans during the Siege of Fort Pitt in 1763. Biological sabotage in the form of anthrax and glanders was undertaken on behalf of the Imperial German government during World War I (1914–1918). The Geneva Protocol of 1925 prohibited the use of chemical weapons and biological weapons.
During Second World War in one way or the other Plague, Tularemia, Anthrax, Brucellosis, and Botulism toxins had been effectively weaponized. Imperial Japanese Army Unit 731 during the war, based at Pingfan in Manchuria and commanded by Lieutenant General Shirō Ishii did research on BW, conducted often fatal human experiments on prisoners, and produced biological weapons for combat use.
The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention was signed by the US, UK, USSR and other nations, as a ban on "development, production and stockpiling of microbes or their poisonous products except in amounts necessary for protective and peaceful research" in 1972 and 182 countries have ratified the treaty.
In 2002, when CNN went through Al-Qaeda's (AQ's) experiments with crude poisons, they found out that the Al-Qaeda associated had begun planning ricin and cyanide attacks with the help of a loose association of cells. The associates had infiltrated many countries like Turkey, Italy, Spain, France and others.
Recently in Syria and Yemen in one way or the other Biological Weapons were in the news. Bashar al-Assad withheld vaccinations against polio, measles, and all other vaccine-preventable diseases from populations deemed politically unsympathetic. It’s no surprise that polio, eliminated from Syria in 1995, reappeared in 2013, in Deir Ezzor. In April 2017, there was a sarin chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people. The attack prompted US President Donald Trump to order the US military to launch 59 missiles at a Syrian airbase. Several months later, a joint report from the United Nations and international chemical weapons inspectors found the attack was the work of the Assad regime.
It is said Wuhan Institute of Virology, the centre of controversy with some questioning its possible links with the outbreak of COVID-19. Established in 1956, it is affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which is the only institute in China focusing exclusively on fundamental research in general virology.
Its research domains have expanded from general virology to clinical related virology and emerging diseases. The research of the institute covers HIV, Ebola and H1N1. The institute has made two statements within one week to refute rumors, which implied that the institute was responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak first discovered in Wuhan. Which it denied.
One statement was made by research fellow Chen Quanjiao after a Sina Weibo user called "Weiketiezhi" posted a claim that Chen reported the head of the institute Wang Yanyi because she had "sold experimental animals" to the Huanan Seafood Market and "leaked the virus" from a lab.
The Huanan Seafood Market has been considered the source of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. "I never released any information on reporting others and I'm in great indignation for people who use my name to fabricate a reported message," Chen said in her statement released on the institute's website.
The Wuhan institute has the National Biosafety Laboratory finished its construction in January 2015, which is Asia's first Bio-Safety Level 4 Lab (BSL-4). There are less than 20 countries in the world that own BSL-4 labs. It passed the assessment of the National Health Commission of China in January 2018 and was put into use afterwards. The Ebola virus is not found in China, but it can be researched in this P4 lab. Without the lab, China would not be qualified to carry out research on the most harmful viruses in accordance with the requirements of biosafety.
According to a thesis published in Nature Medicine magazine on November 9, 2015, the research team, led by Shi Zhengli had synthesized viruses with infectivity and replication ability during their study of coronavirus. However, any connection between the synthetic coronavirus and the novel coronavirus has become the core focus of domestic and foreign suspicions over whether the new coronavirus came from the institute.
At last one can say that developing, acquiring, stockpiling or careless test in labs are Wrong and against to Humanity and agreed International Conventions. Thinking to target Nations through Biolgical Weapon can be dangerous as a small leak can wipe an entire population. Even a limited lab test are done it has to be with utmost care otherwise the whole world from Children’s to Young to Old are affected? If Nations believe Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam "the world is one family" without domination, scaring small nations, controlling trade changing land air water boundary everybody can leave in peace that is what Bharata wish......
(The author is a Political Analyst, Columnist, International Affairs and Korea Expert)