Bio-Weapons Poor Man՚s Atom Bomb Weapons of Mass Destructio YouTube Lecture Handouts

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🔥 Bio-Weapons: Poor Man՚s Atom Bomb - Weapons of Mass Destruction, History, Anthrax, SmallPox

Title: Bio-Weapons Poor Man՚s Atom Bomb


Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Nuclear
  • Radiological


  • Virus
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Toxins
  • Biological agents, like anthrax, botulinum toxin and plague can pose a difficult public health challenge causing large numbers of deaths in a short amount of time while being difficult to contain. Bioterrorism attacks could also result in an epidemic, for example if Ebola or Lassa viruses were used as the biological agents.
  • Category A (anthrax, botulism, plague, smallpox, tularemia, viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, and Machupo)
  • Category B (brucellosis, glanders, Q fever, ricin toxin, typhus fever)
  • Category C (hantavirus, Nipah virus, tick-borne encephalitis and haemorrhagic fever viruses, yellow fever virus and multidrug-resistant bacteria)
  • Category A agents are the highest priority, and these are disease agents that pose a risk to national security because they can be transmitted from person to person and/or result in high mortality, and/or have high potential to cause social disruption. These are anthrax, botulism (via botulinum toxin, which is not passable from person to person) , plague, smallpox, tularemia, and a collection of viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, and Machupo. These disease agents exist in nature (with the exception of smallpox, which has been eradicated in the wild) , but they could be manipulated to make them more dangerous.
  • Category B agents are moderately easy to disseminate and result in low mortality. These include brucellosis, glanders, Q fever, ricin toxin, typhus fever, and other agents. Category C agents include emerging disease agents that could be engineered for mass dissemination in the future, such as hantavirus, Nipah virus, tick-borne encephalitis and haemorrhagic fever viruses, yellow fever virus and multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Bioterror Threat

“intentional use of any microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product that may be engineered as a result of biotechnology, or any naturally occurring or bioengineered component of any such microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product, to cause death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism in order to influence the conduct of government or to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.”


  • 1155: Emperor Barbarossa poisons water wells with human bodies, Tortona, Italy
  • 1336: Mongol attackers (present Ukraine) used catapults to hurl the bodies of bubonic plague victims over the city walls of Caffa.
  • 1785: Tunisian forces used plague-tainted clothing as a weapon in siege of La Calle.
  • 1763: Intentional plans by Britishers to transmit smallpox to Native Americans during Pontiac՚s Rebellion near Fort Pitt (present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) . (Execution not clear but spread of disease occurred)
  • 1797: Napoleon floods the plains around Mantua, Italy, to enhance the spread of malaria
  • 1930s-40s: Japanese used plague as a biological weapon during the Sino-Japanese War. They filled bombs with plague-infected fleas, also used cholera and shigella and dropped them from airplanes onto two Chinese cities. Estimated 580,000 Chinese died.
  • U. S. Army՚s Biological Warfare Laboratories was based at Camp (later Fort) Detrick, Maryland, from 1949 to 1969. The program produced and weaponized several biological agents, including anthrax and botulinum toxin, though the biological weapons were never used in conflicts. President Richard Nixon ended the biological weapons program 1969, and U. S. biological weapons were destroyed
  • In 1975, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) came into force. More than 100 nations, including the United States, have ratified this international treaty
  • The former Soviet Union is known to have produced large quantities of smallpox virus and many other disease agents in its bioweapons program long after it signed the BTWC. In the 1970s, it stockpiled tons of smallpox virus and maintained production capability at least until 1990. The Soviet Union also sponsored an anthrax weapon program; an accidental release of a small amount of weaponized anthrax from a military research facility in 1979 led to at least 70 deaths.
  • In 1979,100 people and countless livestock died following the accidental release of anthrax spores from a bioweapons plant in the Russian city of Sverdlovsk one of 40 such facilities that operated in the former Soviet Union. The U. S. S. R. claimed that it destroyed its bioweapons stock and dismantled the bioweapons program in the late 1980s, but most experts are skeptical that all stocks, equipment, and records were destroyed.
  • In the 1990s Iraq admitted to United Nations inspectors that it had produced thousands of tons of concentrated botulinum toxin and had developed bombs to deploy large quantities of botulinum toxin and anthrax. Only after the 1991 Gulf war – this was exposed.
  • 1995: sarin gas attack inside the Tokyo subway by the Japanese apocalyptic cult Aum Shinrikyo. The widely publicized assault, which killed 13 people and hospitalized thousands, had been preceded by a series of failed botulism and anthrax assaults near the Imperial Palace, a Tokyo airport and two U. S. military bases. Groups like Aum Shinrikyo are willing to use biological agents inefficiently just for the terror and propaganda value.


Dark Winter

  • In 2001, before the 9 ⁄ 11 attack, several U. S. agencies and academic groups conducted a simulated biological attack, codenamed Dark Winter, in which smallpox virus was the weapon. The exercise, which operated on an assumption of about 12 million available doses of smallpox vaccine, based on the then-available stores of smallpox vaccine, “demonstrated serious weaknesses in the public health system that could prevent an effective response to bioterrorism or severe naturally occurring infectious diseases”
  • One key weakness exposed in the exercise was a shortage of vaccine, conflicts between federal and state priorities in managing resources, a shortage of medical infrastructure to deal with mass casualties, and the crucial need for U. S. citizens to trust and cooperate with leaders.
  • Currently, the U. S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has enough smallpox vaccine to vaccinate every person in the country in the event of a bioweapon attack. The stockpile also holds millions of doses of anthrax vaccine, other vaccines, antiviral medications, and other medical supplies.
  • In the case of smallpox, PEP is most likely to be effective when given within four days of exposure to the virus. Plans provide for smallpox vaccine to be shipped starting on the first day of an attack, and it would continue to be shipped from the stockpile to the rest of the country as needed in the five to six days following the attack.
  • Biosecurity experts have suggested that the use of agents for passive immunization could play a role in response to certain bioweapon attacks.

Anthrax – Case Study

  • Spores can remain for 100 years
  • Anthrax bacteria produce extremely lethal spores, and breathing in large numbers can lead to inhalation anthrax a disease that usually is fatal unless treated with large doses of a penicillin-type antibiotic immediately after exposure.
  • Anthrax spores are easy to produce and can remain viable for more than 100 years if kept dry and out of direct sunlight.
  • Their long shelf life makes them well suited to weaponization in a device that can deliver a widespread aerosol
  • Airborne spores remain infectious until they fall to the ground, where most become inactivated by sunlight “black biology” a shadowy science in which microorganisms are genetically engineered for the sole purpose of creating novel weapons of terror.
  • Anthrax in 1st and 2nd world war
  • Cholera, Glanders, food poisoning in 2nd world war

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