In the midst of ongoing health crisis across the globe, The Global health is now became an issues that sits uncomfortably close to trans-national security threats from ‘malicious use of biology’ by many ways. In theory, however, any virus could be used as a “biological-weapons”, but historically various ‘agents’ have been observed as more powerful than others. Thus, “It is widely believed that terrorist outfit may use this phenomena to further disturb the humanity or mankind”.
For instance, It has been known to a small community of American bio-weapon researchers that by 1969, United State (US) had developed “six mass-produced”, battle-ready biological weapons in the form of agents that cause anthrax, tularaemia, brucellosis, Q-fever, VEE and Botulism, each a deadly disease capable of emerging into a pandemic. As per the study co-authored by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Johns Hopkins University, health systems worldwide were weak and no country was fully prepared for a globally catastrophic biological events.
What is Biological Weapons?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Biological weapons are microorganisms like virus, bacteria, fungi, or other toxins that are produced and released deliberately to cause disease and death in humans, animals or plants. Biological agents, like anthrax, botulinum toxin and plague can pose a difficult public health menace 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 instance if Ebola or Lassa viruses were used as the ‘biological agents’. Further, It is a subset of a larger class of weapons referred to as weapons of mass destruction, which also includes chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons. Thus, The use of biological agents is a serious problem, and the risk of using these agents in a bio-terrorist attack is increasing, The WHO attributed.
Is COVID-19 an old form of US biological-weapon?
One Indian-origin biologist, with long experience of research in US based biological labs has remarked in 1969 that the US bio-weapons project had conducted detailed research for weaponization of at least twenty more agents, all deadly virus. In other words, Indian-origin biologist asserted on condition of anonymity, highlighting possible implications on future research funding, that the twenty more bio-agents developed by the program included both “Hantavirus and Coronavirus” too.
While the other bio-agents developed by the program were Smallpox, EEE and WEE, AHF, Lassa fever, Melioidosis, plague, yellow fever, psittacosis, typhus, dengue fever, Rift Valley fever (RVF), CHIKV, late blight of potato, rinderpest, Newcastle disease, bird flu, and the toxin ricin. So, It was not a huge secret and was fairly well known in the American biologists community, particularly scientists who had once worked in the country’s elaborate bio-weapons program at large scale.
Meanwhile, On the one hand, Microsoft co-founder ‘Bill Gates’ already predicted in a TED Conference in 2015, “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly ‘infectious virus’, rather than a war.” They will not be missiles, he warned, but microbes. And two years later, according to GeekWire, He repeated the same warning at a side event during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos that, “It’s pretty surprising how little preparedness there is for it,” He was quoted as saying in 2017. Thus, In 2020, his prediction became so true in the wake of COVID-19 menace.
Whereas on the other hand, One Retired lieutenant general named ‘Subrata Saha’, Nations are fighting such menace on a war footing. The war-like devastation caused by Coronavirus calls for the complicity of Chinese leadership to be dealt with like war crimes. Hence, COVID-19 pandemic is, beyond reasonable doubt, an outcome of criminal negligence on the part of Chinese authorities.
Not only the above, It also Indicating that the COVID-19 may have leaked from a Chinese lab, according to the New York Post in an attribution dated February 22 points to the release of a new directive by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, titled; “Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the same.” Authorities in China most likely knew of the devastating potential of COVID-19 and attempted to conceal facts.
Following the same, the first case confirmed to be COVID-19 infection was on December 8, 2019. However, doctors in “Wuhan”, and throughout China, were ordered “not to disclose any related information about the such disease to the public or WHO”. Further, As per the report released by The New York Times on 22 March, “At least 175,000 people left Wuhan on 1 January, 2020. The departures from Wuhan accelerated over the next three weeks as well. About 7 million people left in January, before travel was restricted”. Notably, The New York Times researchers also believes that, “about 85 per cent of infected travellers went undetected”.
Did COVID-19 begin as a biological warfare project?
As per the latest trend, Several conspiracy theorists in both China and the US have already accused the other of developing and then releasing the virus, either intentionally. The dawn of industrial warfare opened more opportunities for the innovative use of biological weapons. Moreover, Germany also attempted to infect US livestock herds with anthrax during the First World War, with little apparent success. During the World War II, “Most of the major powers developed biological warfare programs”. However, Only Japan and possibly the Soviet Union used ‘biological weapons’ extensively. But coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging widely in severity.
Following the chronology, The first known severe illness caused by the same emerged with the 2003 named, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome” (SARS) epidemic in China. While the second outbreak of severe illness began in 2012 in Saudi Arabia with the “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome” (MERS). On December 31 of last year, Chinese authorities alerted the WHO of an outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus causing severe illness, which was subsequently named SARS-CoV-2.
Even the Wikipedia’s attribution suggested that, On US based biological warfare program attests to claim of the Indian origin biologist. Significantly, The Wikipedia cites in a footnote to back its claim a work on Bioterrorism by well known United Kingdom biologist ‘Nancy Khardori’. So, both the ‘coronavirus and the hantavirus’ are old virus developed by US bio-scientists in the 1960s before President Richard Nixon put an end to the country’s bio-warfare program, It asserted.
Besides the several pathogens that afflict human beings, the US had developed an arsenal of anti-agriculture biological agents and these included rye stem rust spores (Stored at Edgewood Arsenal, 1951-1957), wheat stem rust spores (Stored at the same facility 1962-1969), and the causative agent of rice blast. A US facility at Fort Terry focused primarily on anti-animal biological agents. The first agent that was a candidate for development was foot and mouth disease.
Yet, in the US, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has repeated the charge that the virus was a creation of the Chinese military while others source it to North Korea. And US President Donald Trump has been also roundly condemned for “a racist remark” after describing the deadly disease as “A Chinese virus”. But one hard fact remains, the potentially destructive power of biological weapons, which were banned by an international convention, going back to 1975, the recent report remarked.
COVID-19 exposes the threat of biological warfare?
As per the Asia Times attribution by Ellen Laipson, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted voluminous material on pandemics and preparedness, and made recommendations to private and public health institutions in the US. And the US intelligence community warned in 2017 in its quadrennial Global Threats report that “increased travel and poor health infrastructure will make infectious diseases harder to manage”. Laipson attributed.
Thus, Diseases can be invented in laboratories, and pathogens are held in store by defence ministries in some countries, presumably for defensive purposes, to prepare antidotes should their armed forces be attacked by a biological weapon from an adversary. But the COVID-19 health crisis reminds many scholars worldwide that biological weapons, unlike nuclear or chemical weapons, are exceedingly hard to find and detect in enough time to respond. While satellites can detect large military facilities, and intelligence services monitor chemical capabilities of states and non-state actors, biology is everywhere. A malign actor can weaponize a pathogen in very low-technology ways.
Several scholars who work on biological weapons make other distinctions between them and the other “weapons of mass destruction.” According to Gregory Koblentz, author of Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security, biological weapons are not particularly useful on the battlefield, are developed in great secrecy and do not really work as traditional deterrents in the big geopolitical landscape. But they are an effective tool of intimidation, or useful in asymmetric warfare when a smaller, weaker party can inflict damage and fear on an enemy with greater conventional war-fighting capability.
This is why the fear of biological weapons and the threat of their use have sharpened since the September 11 attacks. The United Nations Security Council voted for Resolution 1540, which launched a new arena for international cooperation, trying to assess and manage the new threat of terrorists or other malign non-state actors seeking access to biological agents.
Breakthroughs in modern technologies, from the human genome project to other laboratory inventions in biology that were once only seen in science fiction movies, have only made the challenge for governments harder. The threats could emerge from normally benign civilian settings, and not only in the realm of inter-state conflict, the study finds.
The secret behind “The Eyes of Darkness”
Iraq has a big bio-chemical warfare project, and Libya, and God knows who else. Lots of people out there in the rest of the world, they believe in chemical and biological warfare. They don’t see anything immoral about it. If they felt they had some terrific new bug that we didn’t know about, something against which we couldn’t retaliate in kind, they’d use it on us. A Book “The Eyes of Darkness” attributed.
To understand that, In this book, Dombey attributed that, It was around then that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen defected to the US, carrying a diskette record of China’s most significant and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade. They call the stuff “Wuhan-400” because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center.
Moreover, The author of this book has been also remarked that, “Wuhan-400” is a perfect weapon. It afflicts only human beings. No other living creature can carry it. And like syphilis, Wuhan-400 can’t survive outside a living human body for longer than a minute, which means it can’t permanently contaminate objects or entire places the way anthrax and other virulent microorganisms can. And when the host expires, the Wuhan-400 within him perishes a short while later, as soon as the temperature of the corpse drops below eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit. Do you see the advantage of all this? The book findings indicates.
The Chinese could use the same to wipe out a city or a country, and then there wouldn’t be any need for them to conduct a tricky and expensive decontamination before they moved in and took over the conquered territory. It’s worse than the Ebola virus in Africa, infinitely worse. Wuhan-400’s kill-rate is one hundred percent. No one is supposed to survive. The Chinese tested it on God knows how many political prisoners. They were never able to find an antibody or an antibiotic that was effective against it.
But yet the superpower (US) and other governments around the globe failed to keep their public health systems and institutions robust enough for such contingencies. Experts who look at health security worldwide concluded in 2019 that most countries were not prepared for a catastrophic infectious disease outbreak. However, Chinese president Xi Jinping were try to hide the fact about the same and this became a global menace. Therefore, The devastating spread of the deadly coronavirus across the world has triggered a conspiracy theory on various sphere. What if it is really a biological weapon? And more particularly, was it an experimental weapon that intentionally, either accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China? This became a great matter of concern.
Consequently, “Social distancing and Lockdown” formula now became a pathway or alternative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Although, Top investigating agencies need to focus on many area of study, investigation to find the major involvement about the same, which is responsible for such menace. Maybe people don’t know about the secret story of the concerned book and galaxy of references that had remarked the concerned theme, but is it very similar to the ongoing health crisis as far as several references and many imminent tycoons has been warned about the same, previously. Despite all of this, One of the task that we hope the globe learns from COVID-19 is that, We must invest in ‘health care indicators’ at large scale for not only to protect lives, but also to protect livelihoods including our environment and biodiversity too. It is also giving more rise to incredible acts of generosity, solidarity and cooperation.
Author: Trilok Singh, Currently Studies Masters in Mass Communication & Journalism at International School of Media and Entertainment Studies, News 24 Campus. MA in Political Science, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Currently, CEO at Youth Darpan Media, IASmind and India’s Journal.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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