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80 Foreign Aff. 76 (2001)
The Nightmare of Bioterrorism

handle is hein.journals/fora80 and id is 84 raw text is: The Nightmare of
Laurie Garrett
As THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY begins, the following nations
possess biological weapons: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, China, North
Korea, Russia, Israel, Taiwan, and possibly Sudan, India, Pakistan,
and Kazakhstan. The list cuts across lines of ideology, politics, and
geography. In addition, according to intelligence sources in Europe and
the United States, militant political groups across the globe are now
developing or seeking to purchase biological weapons for terrorist use.
Meanwhile, the sophistication of biological weaponry has improved
by leaps and bounds. Until 1985, all of the world's biological-weapons
makers were stuck with the same list of pathogens and toxins that
could kill thousands of enemies and be delivered with missiles or
large-scale aerosol systems. Each nation knew the list and stocked
antidotes and vaccines. It was a standoff.
But biology in the last decade has been what physics was in the 1940s
and 195os: a field of exponential discovery. What seemed impossible
in 198o was accomplished by 199o and, by 2ooo, had become ho-hum
fodder for high school biology classes. By the late 199os, a massive
pool of bioengineers, equipped with genetic blueprints to guide their
efforts, had emerged. Determining the genetic sequence of a virus,
such as Ebola, was no longer much of a feat. In 1998, scientists at the
LAURIE GARRETT is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science and medical
writer for Newsday. This article is adapted from her new book, Betrayal of
Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. Copyright © 2ooo by Laurie
Garrett. Published by Hyperion.


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