As scientists and bio-terrorism experts discuss whether to publish the recipe for a new H5N1 airborne-capable virus that has the potential to kill off half the world’s population, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns that biological weapons manufactured in rudimentary labs pose an emerging and evolving threat to security:
“The advances in science and technology make it possible both to prevent and cure more diseases but also easier for both states and non-state actors to develop biological weapons,” she said. “A crude but effective terrorist weapon can be made by using a small sample of any number of widely available pathogens, inexpensive equipment and college-level chemistry and biology.”
And less than a year ago, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula made a call to arms for, and I quote, ‘brothers with degrees in microbiology or chemistry to develop a weapon of mass destruction’,” she said.
The materials to make the weapons are easily accessed and have ethical purposes, which the U.S. State Department says could make verification of use impossible.
“For example, the emerging gene synthesis industry is making genetic material widely available,” said Clinton. “This obviously has many benefits for research, but it also could potentially be used to assemble the components of a deadly organism. So how do we balance the need for scientific freedom and innovation with the necessity of guarding against such risks?”
Source: Global Security
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