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Biological Weapons


Biological weapons are defined by the United Nations as “complex systems that disseminate disease-causing organisms or toxins to harm or kill humans, animals, or plants”. Any multitude of diseases can be used as biological weapons, such as small pox or influenza, and can be utilized in any number of ways from the elimination of a specific target to the creation of a widespread epidemic. These weapons are made up of two parts a toxin (most commonly referred to as an “agent”) and a delivery system which can range anywhere from a bomb to a spray depending on how widespread the agent is intended to be. Historically, they have been weaponized by states but, with recent advancements, they have become more easily attainable to terrorism groups and similar small scale organizations. By far one of the biggest challenges when it comes to dealing with biological weapons lays in the simple fact that it is difficult to tell whether a disease is naturally occurring or a result of a biological weapon.
 
Through the 20th century biological weapons were very frequently used by a number of states. However, in April of 1972 the Biological Weapons Convention was developed. This is a treaty that “bans the development, production and stockpiling” of biological weapons. It was put into action in March of 1975 with 109 signatory states. In the following years there have been a number of review conferences held to take steps to continue the disarmament of these types of weapons and outcomes of these conferences have included participating states providing status reports on provisions within the Biological Weapons Convention, an implementation unit to help states who agreed to terms, as well as the request that all participating states disclose research and advancements they have made in biological weapons. 

Counter Proliferation Efforts


World Health Organization: Biosafety and Biosecurity

Jacqueline Young -- April 2, 2018
Biosafety and Biosecurity Background Biosafety Biosafety refers to “the containment principles, technologies and practices that are implemented to prevent unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins, or their accidental release”.1 In the context of influenza research and the development and production of influenza products, biosafety risks relate to accidents during which laboratory workers or people in Read More

NEW CRP: Applications of Biological Dosimetry Methods in Radiation Oncology, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology (E35010)

April Sunid -- April 1, 2018
A biodosimetrist examining metaphase chromosome spread for chromosome aberrations using MetaSystems-Zeiss platform (Photo: Prof Hande, National University of Singapore). The Coordinated Research Project (CRP) E35010 titled “Applications of biological dosimetry methods in radiation oncology, nuclear medicine, diagnostic and interventional radiology” (MEDBIODOSE) is being launched in Section of Applied Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy, Division of Human Read More

The Biological Weapons Convention at a crossroad

April Sunid -- March 25, 2018
Biological weapons are frightening, indiscriminate killers. In 1979, an accidental release of anthrax from a weapons facility in Russia’s Sverdlovsk killed at least 66 people. In Oregon in 1984, 751 people who ate or worked at area restaurants got Salmonella gastroenteritis—it was later determined that the outbreak was caused by intentional contamination of restaurant salad Read More

More Than A Nuclear Threat: North Korea’s Chemical, Biological, and Conventional Weapons

April Sunid -- March 25, 2018
More Than A Nuclear Threat: North Korea’s Chemical, Biological, and Conventional Weapons March 22, 2018 Introduction and Main Points North Korean development of biological weapons both poses a serious potential threat to the United States and its strategic partners, and illustrates the broader dangers of proliferation. Biological weapons pose dangers that are growing steadily with Read More

Chemical and Biological Weapons Status at a Glance

April Sunid -- March 25, 2018
Chemical and Biological Weapons Status at a Glance Updated: March 2018 Despite the progress made by international conventions, biological weapons (BW) and chemical weapons (CW) still pose a threat. More progress has been made by Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) states-parties and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the destruction of declared Read More

Verification and monitoring of human, animal and plant pathogens and toxins

Jacqueline Young -- March 12, 2018
Verification and monitoring of human, animal and plant pathogens and toxins The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) entered into force in 1975. It has 173 states parties and nine signatory states. States parties are discussing options to improve transparency concerning the implementation of the Convention and means to enhance confidence in compliance, instead of resuming Read More

Weapons of Terror – The International WMD Commission

Jacqueline Young -- March 12, 2018
  6APR 2006 Weapons of Terror – The International WMD Commission  by Acronym Institute |  posted in: Articles |  0 Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons Dr Rebecca Johnson was senior advisor to Chair of the Commission, Dr Hans Blix. Download [3.41 MB]  Biological, Chemical, Disarmament, NPT, Nuclear, WMD

REPORT FROM GENEVA: THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION MEETING OF STATES PARTIES DECEMBER 2015

Jacqueline Young -- March 4, 2018
REVIEW No 44 NUMBER REPORT FROM GENEVA: THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION MEETING OF STATES PARTIES DECEMBER 2015 Graham S. Pearson in association with Nicholas A. Sims February 2016 2 Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3 Preparation for the Meeting of States Parties, 14 to 18 December 2015 4 Meeting of States Parties, 14 to 18 December 2015: ………………………… Read More

BWC Talks Score Surprise Success

Jacqueline Young -- February 24, 2018
BWC Talks Score Surprise Success States-parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), meeting in Geneva on Dec. 4-8, reached a last-minute accord on a substantive three-year work program leading to the 2021 review conference. January/February 2018 By Jenifer Mackby States-parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), meeting in Geneva on Dec. 4-8, reached a last-minute Read More

Biological Weapons Convention Signatories and States-Parties

April Sunid -- February 23, 2018
Biological Weapons Convention Signatories and States-Parties Updated: February 2018 The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) currently has 180 states-parties, including Palestine, and six signatories (Central African Republic, Egypt, Haiti, Somalia, Syria, and Tanzania). Eleven states have neither signed nor ratified the BWC (Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, Niue, South Sudan and Tuvalu). The BWC opened for signature Read More

The Biological Weapons Convention at a Crossroads

Jacqueline Young -- February 18, 2018
  The Biological Weapons Convention at a crossroad Bonnie JenkinsWednesday, September 6, 2017 Biological weapons are frightening, indiscriminate killers. In 1979, an accidental release of anthrax from a weapons facility in Russia’s Sverdlovsk killed at least 66 people. In Oregon in 1984, 751 people who ate or worked at area restaurants got Salmonella gastroenteritis—it was Read More

Proliferation Challenges


Imposition of Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act Sanctions on North Korea

Jacqueline Young -- April 2, 2018
  Imposition of Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act Sanctions on North Korea Press Statement Heather Nauert Department Spokesperson Washington, DC March 6, 2018 On February 22, 2018, the United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of North Read More

The Biological Weapons Convention at a crossroad

April Sunid -- March 25, 2018
Biological weapons are frightening, indiscriminate killers. In 1979, an accidental release of anthrax from a weapons facility in Russia’s Sverdlovsk killed at least 66 people. In Oregon in 1984, 751 people who ate or worked at area restaurants got Salmonella gastroenteritis—it was later determined that the outbreak was caused by intentional contamination of restaurant salad Read More

More Than A Nuclear Threat: North Korea’s Chemical, Biological, and Conventional Weapons

April Sunid -- March 25, 2018
More Than A Nuclear Threat: North Korea’s Chemical, Biological, and Conventional Weapons March 22, 2018 Introduction and Main Points North Korean development of biological weapons both poses a serious potential threat to the United States and its strategic partners, and illustrates the broader dangers of proliferation. Biological weapons pose dangers that are growing steadily with Read More

Chemical and Biological Weapons Status at a Glance

April Sunid -- March 25, 2018
Chemical and Biological Weapons Status at a Glance Updated: March 2018 Despite the progress made by international conventions, biological weapons (BW) and chemical weapons (CW) still pose a threat. More progress has been made by Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) states-parties and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the destruction of declared Read More

North Korea could be mass producing biological weapons to unleash smallpox and plague, report warns

April Sunid -- February 13, 2018
North Korea could be mass producing biological weapons to unleash smallpox and plague, report warns Programme to develop deadly chemicals such as anthrax reportedly began in 1960s The Independent Online Kim Jong Un with members of the North Korean Army. The army controls the research centre where it is believed biological weapons are developed Reuters North Korea is Read More

North Korean defector’s blood ‘contains signs of anthrax infection’ amid concerns over biological weapons

April Sunid -- February 13, 2018
North Korean defector’s blood ‘contains signs of anthrax infection’ amid concerns over biological weapons Antibodies in the soldier’s bloodstream could suggest exposure to or vaccination against the deadly disease Wednesday 27 December 2017 19:23 GMT The Independent Online The blood of a soldier who defected from North Korea this year has been found to contain Read More

North Korea: Biological Weapons

Jacqueline Young -- February 10, 2018
  NORTH KOREA Biological Last Updated: December, 2015 Although the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is party to both the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the Geneva Protocol, it is suspected of maintaining an ongoing biological weapons (BW) program. According to North Korean defectors and assessments by U.S.and South Korean governments, North Korea began acquiring a biological weapons capability as Read More

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