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Menace of Bioterrorism and Bioweapons around the world

Bioterrorism is the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, toxins, or any other type of harmful biological agents into the environment by an enemy country. So that they can destroy the animals and human beings in that particular country called bioterrorism. So bioterrorism is the waging of war by an enemy country by using biological agents called bioterrorists does it work? We have several biological agents, let's say, for example, viruses or bacteria. They are naturally available. These naturally available bacteria or viruses also change in the laboratory. Once they are altered the resistance power to the antibiotics or any types of vaccines is comparatively increased. So they can become immune to these antibiotics or medicines. So, the natural virus or the bacteria is taken into the laboratory and changed their structure such that they become immune to these antibiotics, as well as medicines. So the biological agents may be spread through the air, or by the water, or spread even by food as well. So the bioterrorism is one of the aspects by an enemy country, to make sure that the enemy is hurt by death which is created by this biological agent. Now let's take some of the examples of biological terrorism. Biological terrorism has been introduced in ancient Rome and back in the 14th century, we have the Bubonic plague which was used by several countries to infiltrate enemy countries. During World War One Germany, also launched biological sabotage against Rome, France, Romania, Russia, and the United States of America by infecting the horses and mules with the glanders, which happens to be a virulent disease. So the idea of bioterrorism has been existing since the 14th century, and it has been continuing to haunt after world war one as well. And when we look into the year, 2001. We also have infectious anthrax, which was delivered to the news media officers and the US Congress as well. These are some of the prominent examples of bioterrorism was engaged as a means of killing human beings as well as creating panic in that particular environment. Now the question is why bioterrorism, there is nuclear terrorism, conventional warfare, and chemical warfare as well. And there are other types of warfare like cyber warfare, so on and so forth. But the question is, why are the countries engaged in bioterrorism. That is because terrorists usually find these biological agents that are often difficult to detect. Let me give you an example. Let's say the United States of America launch of ed a nuclear missile on Japan. So we got to know who exactly launched it. And we also got to know where was the landing site, and we were also able to detect it. And we were also able to take measures as well. But that is not the same when it comes to biological terrorism. When it comes to the illness onset. Let's say, for example, using a nuclear missile, you will know when you're launching, and when that particular launchpad vehicles will hit that particular enemy country, but when it comes to biological terrorism, the illness onset is comparatively delayed as well. So no countries would be able to detect it. Even if they detected, it will be after a considerable time. So the speed at which an attack result is not immediate, but there are delayed or prolonged delays. When it comes to its execution. So what will happen here is that other countries might not doubt the country, which is the source country which has implanted this bioterrorism agent. When it comes to the bioterrorism agent. They are the common choice for a couple of countries and terrorists, is when because they are easy to use. They're also inexpensive. They're easy to produce. They're easy to send as well. They're easy to disseminate, and they can also cause widespread effects to the enemy countries, according to that source country because it is inexpensive compared to the other modes of terrorist modules. That is why this is employed as a module. As a result, what it creates is a huge panic in the people. So terrorists also use these biological weapons, as a method for creating huge panic massive panic and small quantities of biological agents can also kill several people, resulting in injury, and also death as well and the most important of all, there is uncertainty as well. Even if we suppose, there is a biological agent which is released into the environment, people might assume that it is a common cold, people might assume that it is common fever, they might not know that this is a new agent, which is let by the enemy. So because there is uncertainty, and because that country might not know, and might not act immediately that is the primary reason, all these countries are going with bioterrorism, with the option of bioterrorism over other types of agents. Now we have to understand is the major difference between bioterrorism and other forms of terrorism. When it comes to the site of the attack. It is not known when it comes to bioterrorism. Let's take the example of COVID-19. It is said that this was not created by China. That's what they say. That's what the World Health Organization says, but we still don't know whether this was created by China, or not, but let's assume it is not created by China. So what will happen when it comes to bioterrorism is that this will not have a restricted sight. So what exactly happened in COVID-19. What was born in China was spread to several countries word over there is not a single country which is not impacted by COVID-19, but that is not the same when it comes to the other mode of terrorism. Let's say it is a nuclear missile or for example a chemical terrorist attack in all these cases that will be restricted to a particular country, but that is not the same when it comes to bioterrorism. So what is acted in a particular state can spread to different states or different countries, or different site localities. So what we understand is that there are no boundaries when it comes to bioterrorism, but when it comes to other modes of terrorism, you can have clear-cut deficlear-cutaries. So the scope or boundaries is unknown. When it comes to bioterrorism, and when it comes to the atomic, usually have a well-understood boundary, the distribution of the affected patient will not be constricted to a particular locality. But when it comes to the other sources of terrorism, it will be restricted to a particular place. So let's take nuclear terrorism. In this case, the United States of America launched a bomb on Japan, so all the people who are suffering will be only from Japan. But now let's take the example of COVID-19, people impacted, not only Chinese but the world over Irrespective of religion, irrespective of caste, irrespective of ethnicity continent, and country. The world is suffering. So we do not have a defined boundary or geography. When it comes to bioterrorism these are the differences between bioterrorism and other forms of terrorism. Now what we have to look at is the classification of these agents. When it comes to the classification. There are three categories. One is category A, Category B, and then category C. This is categorized basically when you look at bioterrorism as a module. It depends on the ability of that particular biological agent to be decimated. So let's say if we can move it from one place to another. So how much of decimation is possible from that biological agent is first to consider for the risk, then what we have is the mortality rate in case it is creating a large number of deaths for the animals, and for the people that are also considered. And finally, if it can create a huge amount of public panic, that is considered. So the three important criteria are one is about decimation. The second is about the mortality rate. And third is about the public panic. So all these cases are considered. According to category A, it poses the highest risk to national security because all these cases will increase. And when it comes to category B. This is comparatively lesser than A, but more than category C. so this will be having the second level when it comes to bioterrorism why because its mortality rate is comparatively lesser than A, but more than category C. And then finally we have category C, which happens to be the third level. Let's take the example of category A once we have anthrax bubonic plague, smallpox to learn more. And when it comes to category B, we have the West Nile virus hepatitis A, and when it comes to category C, we influence SARS and Rabies. These are some of the examples when it comes to the classification of the agent. Now what we have to look at, there are any instances where has been a bioterrorism attack in India. When you look at the official data, there is nothing like that. There is no about bioterrorism that has been engaged against India, but there are unofficial channels, written that there have been certain instances, the government has said, until now there are no acts of bioterrorism engaged, against India, but there is unofficial channels word of mouth, which currently say that the spread of Bubonic plague in Surat in 1994 caused several deaths, Anthrax in Midnapore, in 1999 Encephalitis in Siliguri in 2001 are some of the bioterrorism acts, say some of the words of the people. Now, what we have to focus on are the concerns. So what are the various concerns of bioterrorism concerning India? We have a high population density. We are the second-largest population in the world. We are living in subtropical climate conditions. We have poor hygiene and sanitation conditions. We have the worst of the health infrastructure as well. This is what we have been seen when it comes to the COVID-19, as well. So because we have all these issues inadequate medical facilities, not the availability of the medical services, because the number of doctors and the healthcare providers are also less iscase there is a bioterrorist attack initiated against India will be hurt very badly. The number of people who will be suffering will be more that we cannot imagine. So these are some of the concerns, which India, can be extremely susceptible to. So how do we overcome this? What are the measures that we may have to take? This can be categorized into three different modules. What are these three different modules, we will have to look at it at the national level, what are the steps that we may have to take concerning India, we have to look at it at the global level, what are the steps that the community has to take together? And what is that research that we have to develop going forward? First up at the national level. There are several coordination and effort that is required by different governmental agencies. We have intelligence agencies. Let's take, for example, we have the external intelligence agency, which happens to be RAW, and the Intelligence Bureau, which happens to be the internal intelligence collection one. So what we require is the coordination and effort of different agencies like the Intelligence Bureau of the army, the law enforcement agency. When you look at law enforcement machinery. You have the Police, who are important when it comes to the execution of law and order. And finally, we have the health department and civil administration all come up together. They discuss how they can overcome in case there is an attack of bioterrorism. So what we require is a coordinated approach of all these agencies to come up together create a plan for us. In case there is an act that is perpetuated. We should be in a position to take it on and also require is developing and stockpiling vaccines and, also antimicrobial medicines. We will also have to make sure that, how, and who will be the first responders. In the case of the first responders, it will not be the military, or it will not be the people who have the muscle power or the machine power, but instead, the first responders in this particular case are the health services. So what we require is infrastructural support and medical support that has to be provided. So the first responders will also have to be taught how to deal with the biological weapons attack. And we also have to refine the diagnostic laboratory capabilities. We also have to come up with a clear-cut structure as to who will do what and when the attack takes place against India, but as of now, we do not have a clear cut clause. Now, we only have the Disaster Management Act, which speaks about the biological disaster. Under these particular circumstances require a clear-cut guideline, and that is what the parliamentary Standing Committee on Health is recommending for the Government of India and recommending that since we do not have a clear-cut clause. We do not have a clear-cut structure and hierarchy, so require a suitable law. So, if there is an attack committed by an enemy country in such cases, we need a structure to who will take responsibility. When it comes to combating bioterrorism at the global level. We require intelligence sharing and deep traffic detection. So what does this intelligence sharing, let's say, for example, China, in this particular case, COVID-19 is not bioterrorism that's what is being said, if it is detected, China or any country for that matter will immediately have to share this particular information to the global community. So it can be the World Health Organization, or it can be any of the major countries as well. So, identifying which is that particular agent, whether it is a virus, whether it is a bacteria or any other agent. So, analyzing that particular pathogen and giving this particular information to the world over is the major point when it comes to the global level. So what happens, what we require is rapid detection and surveillance. When it comes to this particular biological agent whose information will have to be delivered to the global community. How do we do it speedily, in a uniform way such that this will not create chaos, as it has happened in COVID-19 is what needs to be followed? And apart from that, we currently have the biological weapons convention. India is also a signatory to the biological weapons convention, and this biological weapon convention has many other countries as well. But what needs to be done going forward is strengthening this biological weapons convention. So all the countries whose signatories, they're developing or producing or stockpiling it. There have to be vigilant eyes on all these countries. so controlling the biological agents or the microbial growth, concerning the quantity has to be taken up more seriously and strengthening the rules and regulations, concerning this weapon convention has to be taken up by the global community. And apart from that, we also require bio Defense Research. So what is his bio Defense Research, in case there is an attack? We need the scientific community, which has in its armory that there are tools and techniques to overcome this particular tragedy or this particular disaster. So what we require is the understanding of the basic biology of the potential bioterrorism agents, understanding how this bioterrorism agent acts with the human immune system. So basically, once you identify this biological agent. Understand and research as to how it is impacting the immune system and post that come up with remedial measures. So developing and improving drugs and vaccines that are effective against these bioterrorism agents is the need of the hour, and this has to be done quickly and accurately by diagnosing diseases, which are impacted by that particular agent. So, establishing resources for biosafety laboratories to facilitate this biological research should be taken up by the global community. So, we have to make sure that studies concerning bioterrorism are comparatively less in India and, it is insufficient. So we require the study of the bioterrorism modules and measures that we have to take concerning counter bioterrorism.

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