The use of bacteria or viruses of toxins to destroy men and animals or food; SYN. BW.
The use of living organisms, or of infectious material derived from them, to bring about death or disease in humans, animals, or plants. At least ten countries have this capability.
Biological warfare, together with chemical warfare, was originally prohibited by the Geneva Protocol 1925, to which the United Nations has urged all states to adhere. Nevertheless research in this area continues; the Biological Weapons Convention 1972 permits research for defense purposes but does not define how this differs from offensive weapons development. In 1990 the US Department of Defense allocated $60 million to research, develop, and test defense systems. Russian president Boris Yeltsin signed a decree to comply with the Protocol in 1992. Although the treaty was ratified by the Kremlin three months after its original signing, national laws ensuring compliance were never passed.
Advances in genetic engineering make the development of new varieties of potentially offensive biological weapons more likely.
BW · bioattac · biologic attack · biological attack