• Is Covid-19 a Bio-Weapon?

    The “racial disparity” of the deaths from Covid should raise alarms.  Not the relatively small differences between white, black and Hispanic death rates in America, but the massive disparity between death rates of East Asian countries, and everyone else on earth. On a per capita basis, non-East Asians are dying at rates 20 times higher that of East Asians. That is not a statistical “blip.” It screams that the virus has massively unequal kill rates - and kills people of different races very differently. That is the signature of a bio-weapon.

  • New Biodefense Lab to Focus on Food Security

    The University of Nebraska has launched a 5-year project to help safeguard the U.S. food supply. The project will address agricultural and natural resources security, defense, and countermeasures; biological defense in support of the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and other government stakeholders; development and deployment of biosurveillance, biodetection and diagnostic tools; and pandemic preparedness related to human, livestock and crop plant diseases that could result in disruptions to the U.S. and global food systems.

  • Protecting the U.S. Food Supply Chain

    An attack on our food supply—whether from intentional tampering, or due to contagious animal disease—could be dangerous to human health and could cause long-lasting economic impacts. DHS S&T is working to protect the U.S. food supply chain – from the farm to the table.

  • Biohazard: A Look at China’s Biological Capabilities and the Recent Coronavirus Outbreak

    When people think about weapons of mass destruction (WMD), they tend to think of things that go “boom.” The bigger the weapon, the bigger the boom, and the worse the impact. However, not all weapons need a big boom to be effective. Every day, millions of people are affected by a weapon that has the potential to do far more damage than a nuclear bomb, a weapon we cannot see, a weapon we call germs.

  • Pathogens Have the World’s Attention

    The novel coronavirus has demonstrated just how devastating a transmissible pathogen can be—and just how difficult to contain. Nathan Levine and Chris Li write that “the sobering truth is that, as deadly diseases go, the world got lucky. The global case fatality rate of COVID-19 is around 2 percent. One need only compare this to SARS (10 percent), smallpox (30 percent), pulmonary anthrax (80 percent), or Ebola (90 percent) to consider that the coronavirus could easily have been much, much worse.”

  • Bold Action Can End Era of Pandemic Threats By 2030

    The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense has called on the federal government to urgently implement the recommendations specified in its new report, The Apollo Program for Biodefense: Winning the Race Against Biological Threats. The report details an ambitious program to develop and deploy the technologies needed to defend against all biological threats, empower public health, and prevent pandemics.

  • Pandemic Shows Need for Biological Readiness

    President Joe Biden’s inauguration comes during the worst stage of the deadliest biological event of our lifetimes. As bad as this pandemic is, imagine if instead it were caused by the deliberate release of a sophisticated biological weapon. About 2 percent of those infected have died of COVID-19, while a disease such as smallpox kills at a 30 percent rate. A bioengineered pathogen could be even more lethal. Our failed response to the pandemic in 2020 has exposed a gaping vulnerability to biological threats, ranging from natural outbreaks to deliberate biological weapons attacks.

  • Unifying U.S. Atmospheric Biology Research to Prevent Risks to National Security

    Global circulating winds can carry bacteria, fungal spores, viruses and pollen over long distances and across national borders, but the United States is ill-prepared to confront future disease outbreaks or food-supply threats caused by airborne organisms. In the United States, research and monitoring of airborne organisms is split between an array of federal agencies. The lack of coordination and information-sharing can effectively cripple the U.S. response to national security threats, such as pandemics.

  • New Bioweapons to Target Specific Groups of People or Individuals

    Genomic technologies develop and converge with artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, affective computing, and robotics, means that increasingly refined records of biometrics, emotions, and behaviors will be captured and analyzed. These data will enable game-changing developments which will enable the development of novel bioweapons which target specific groups of people or individuals.

  • The Genetic Engineering Genie Is Out of the Bottle

    Usually good for a conspiracy theory or two, President Donald Trump has suggested that the virus causing COVID-19 was either intentionally engineered or resulted from a lab accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. Scientists have now conclusively proved that the virus was not designed in a lab, but Vivek Wadhwa writes that if “genetic engineering wasn’t behind this pandemic, it could very well unleash the next one. With COVID-19 bringing Western economies to their knees, all the world’s dictators now know that pathogens can be as destructive as nuclear missiles.”

  • How Do We Know Whether a Virus Is Bioengineered?

    Since the onset of the pandemic, theories – or, rather, conspiracy theories – and no-evidence assertions argued that the coronavirus was intentionally engineered by Chinese scientists as a potential bioweapon, despite the consensus of scientists and intelligence experts that the virus’s genetics indicate that it is most likely a zoonotic pathogen. The scientists relied on a Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) analysis to reach their conclusion, but there are other detection tools – trouble is, these other tools may be used to engineer viruses for bioattacks.

  • Poison: Chasing the Antidote

    While targeted chemical attacks on civilians tend to make headlines, the most common poisoning reports in the United States are from accidental exposure to household chemicals such as insect sprays, cleaning solutions or improperly washed fruit or vegetables. In any case, the remedy is a fast-acting, poison-chasing drug compound, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory says it is on the forefront developing a new generation of life-saving antidotes.

  • Preparing to Clean Up Following an Anthrax Attack

    The microorganism that causes anthrax, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, has infected people and animals since ancient times. Anthrax is one of the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack, because the anthrax bacteria exist in the natural environment, can be easily disguised in powders, sprays, food or water, and have been previously used as a biological warfare agent.

  • Advancing Biosecurity in the Age of COVID

    The response to COVID-19 has exposed a world that is largely unprepared to deal with emerging and novel biothreats, whether the outbreak is natural or intentional. The Global Health Security Network brought together two biosecurity experts to discuss how current projects to improve global health security can adapt during the pandemic and what changes the world needs to make to improve biosafety and biosecurity.

  • Making Bioweapons Obsolete

    The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) and Sandia National Laboratories convened experts and thought leaders in government, academia, and the private sector to discuss the ways to make a future in which the threat of biological weapons is greatly reduced.