Delivery of Biological Weapons By Mark A. Prelas Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute University of Missouri-Columbia
Outline • Why should we worry? • History • Modern Methods Reference SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF TERRORISM AND COUNTER TERRORISM Tushar K. GhoshMark A. PrelasDabir ViswanathSudarshan K. Loyalka http://www.dekker.com/servlet/product/productid/0870-9 Marcell Dekker Textbook | Print Published: 08/01/2002 Hard Cover | 592 pages | Illustrated Print ISBN: 0-8247-0870-9
Why should we worry? • Bioterrorism has successfully been used • WASHINGTON — A letter sent to the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., has tested positive for anthrax: AP Monday, October 15, 2001: • Germ-Laced Mail's Source Still a Mystery : Investigators Find No 'Conclusive Link' Between Anthrax Scare, Sept. 11 Attacks, By Dan Eggen and Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff Writers, Wednesday, October 24, 2001 • ANTHRAX TESTINGNew Tests Confirm Potency of Anthrax in Senate Office; December 11, 2001, By Lawrence K. Altman, New York Times. • Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings, April 11, 2002, CNN. Reference http://prelas.nuclear.missouri.edu/NE401/News.htm
Biotech is the most potent technology (for good or evil) Lethal Dose Amount of agent (in kilograms) needed to inflict 50% casualties on 1 square kilometer target
Relative Effects of NBC Weapons Parameter Nuclear Chemical Biological sq miles 75-100 100 34,000 _________________________________________________ Morbidity 98% 30% 35-75 _________________________________________________ Residual 6 months 3-36 hrs Epidemic 1000 sq. m. Spreads all over ________________________________________________ Time seconds 30 secs few to 14 days ________________________________________________ Prop. Damage 30 sq miles undamaged undamaged
Bioagents are virtually undetectable • Nuclear sensors are very sensitive: Can be used to prevent an attack • Can We Stop the Next Attack?http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020311/story.html • Feds eye ways to target weapons of mass destruction, March 3, 2002, CNN • The officials responded to a report in The Washington Post that the government placed sensors to detect nuclear and radiological weapons in high-alert zones, such as Salt Lake City, Utah, during the Olympic games, along U.S. borders and around the nation's capital. • Chemical sensors are far less sensitive than Nuclear sensors: Can’t be used to prevent an attack • Biological sensors are much less effective than chemical sensors
Delivery Methods: Pre-Weaponization Historical View • 1346 At Kaffa (now Feodossia) the Tartars threw the bodies of plague victims over the walls. • 1710 During the war between Russia and Sweden, Russian troops used the body of plague victims to expose Swedish soldiers. • 1776 During the French and Indian war, Sir Jeffery Amherst provided small pox infested blankets to Indians loyal to France. He was able to take Ft. Carlillon and renamed it Ft. Ticonderoga. • 1917 During World War I, German agents infected allied horses and cattle with glanders. • 1937-45 During WWII, Japan formed Unit 731 to develop biological weapons. In 1940, Japan dropped plague infected fleas on areas in China and Manchuria and caused plague epidemics.
Transmission • Serratia Marscens (SM), is a harmless bacterium that is easily tracked due to its bright red color. Instructors in medical school used it to demonstrate the transmission mechanisms for infectious diseases. An instructor would put the organism in his or her mouth and then lecture. The organism would be captured on plates covered with nutrients around the room. The next day, the dispersion of SM around the room could be seen on the plates by its characteristic color.
Post-Weaponization Historical View • In 1949 as a test, teams with sprayers introduced SM into the intake vents of the Pentagon’s air conditioning system. • April of 1950 the USS Coral Sea and USS K. D. Bailey sprayed both Serratia Marscens (SM) and Bacillus Globigii (BG) into the wind blowing towards Norfolk, Hampton, and Newport News, Virginia. The tests demonstrated that U.S. costal cities could be threatened by a biological attack.
In September 1950, about two miles off the cost of San Francisco, U.S. Navy ships sprayed SM, BG and a cloud of fluorescent particles, along a dissemination line of 3 miles length. The material was collected at monitoring stations around the bay area. The Fluorescent Particles (FP) deposited throughout the city’s streets and sidewalks and at night, under ultraviolet light glowed like stars. Traces of SM, BG and FP were found as far away as twenty-three miles. If the organism had been anthrax, it would have produced lethal doses in an area of about 50 square miles.
A series of tests were designed to show that a large-scale attack with biological weapons was feasible. On December 2, 1957, an AC-119 sprayed an area from South Dakota to International Falls, Minnesota, with fluorescent particles while a cold air front was moving down from Canada. Particles were detected 1200 miles away in New York State.
A plane flying from Toledo, Ohio, to Abilene, Texas, and a second plane flying from Detroit, Michigan, to Goodland, Kansas, sprayed about forty pounds of FP per minute. Sampling stations on the ground proved that large areas of the country could be attacked with biological weapons. • A jet aircraft equipped with a BG sprayer flew a predetermined pattern near Victoria, Texas. The BG was found as Far East as the Florida Keys.
Travelers at the Greyhound Bus terminal in Washington D. C., and the Washington National Airport, Washington D. C., were subjected to BGin October 1965. Scientists walked through the bus terminal and the airport and sprayed the bacterium into the air without being detected. Aerosol traps were placed at strategic points to capture the bacterium as it moved through the air. • A light bulb filled with BG was dropped on the tracks in the New York City subway in June 1966. BG spread throughout the subway system within 20 minutes. Monitoring of the BG demonstrated that even this small amount of material, had it been anthrax, could have killed thousands of people.
Conclusions of US Tests • Overall, more than 200 tests were performed to demonstrate the potential of biological weapons. This research culminated between 1964 and 1968 with a series of tests at facilities in the Pacific including the well-known project SHADY GROVE. The tests demonstrated that a single weapon was able to cover 2400 square kilometers with 30% casualties .
USSR • 1979 in late April about 60 people died of pulmonary anthrax infections in the city of Sverdlovsk. The anthrax was accidentally released from a biological weapons facility nearby. (Soviet anthrax accident killed 60, October 16, 2001, CNN)
Military Delivery Systems for States • Spanish Munitions sold internationally
Delivery Capability of Groups and Individuals • High quality anthrax material was sent by mail. Other bioagents in aerosol form could be delivered in this way. • High quality anthrax material • Can be spread in closed environments by breaking container like 1966 NY subway test. • Can be delivered by dry sprayer in open • Can be dropped by crop duster
The Human Biohazzard • Highly infectious bioagents could be delivered by humans. • If a terrorist were to be exposed to smallpox, it would be feasible for that terrorist to infect a planeload of people on a long haul flight while in the infectious stages of the disease. Given the nature of travel across boarders today as compared to 1972, it would be very difficult to implement quarantine along with vaccination as a means of containment. There is a potential of spreading smallpox worldwide. • A suicide bomber could infect himself or herself with blood born agents such as HIV or Ebola and spread the infection by detonating himself or herself in a crowded area.
Can States and Terrorist Groups Cooperate • Yes!! • See for example the Taliban and Al Qaeda • Cooperation of this type is a potential military tool • China Ponders New Rules of `Unrestricted War'The Washington Post; Washington; Aug 8, 1999; John Pomfret;
The Future of Bio terrorism--Designer Bugs: Biotechnologies may eventually be used to develop manmade bioagents • Scientists Construct First Synthetic Poliovirus July 11, 2002, http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=search&StoryID=1192468 • GM goat spins web based future, Aug. 21, 2000 • Using techniques similar to those used to produce Dolly the sheep, scientists at Nexia Biotechnologies in Quebec have bred goats with spider genes. • http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_889000/889951.stm
“I was told by American biowarfare experts that Iraq obtained some of its most lethal strains of anthrax from the American Type Culture Collection in Rockville, MD…For thirty five dollars they also picked up strains of tularemia and VEE once targeted for weaponization at Ft. Detrick…Six weeks after the Aum Shinrikyo attack, Larry Harris, a member of white supremacist group in Ohio, ordered three vials of plague from the American Type Culture Collection catalog.” Ken Alibek, Biohazzard, 1998
“We may not realize until too late that we have become the victims of a biological attack. It is not until days or weeks after such an attack has taken place – after the first wave of deaths – that we will most likely recognize its occurrence.” Ken Alibek, Biohazzard, 1998
Human Imagination is the limit • How can bioagents be used? • The Human imagination is the limit.