Research Strategies for the Treatment of Biothreats


  1. Cherwonogrodzky, J.W.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
The topic of “biothreats” is a broad one, with several threat agents (e.g. bacteria, viruses or toxins), targets (humans, animals or plants) methods of release that might be intentional (e.g. a biological released by a terrorist or a military force) or unintentional (e.g. the entry of an exotic disease by an infected carrier). For the purpose of this review, the topic of “biothreats” will be limited to biologicals that might be released into the human population by a hostile force. The threat of biologicals is both more and less threatening than commonly perceived. For several infectious agents, there are about a trillion particles per gram. Theoretically, one would need only the weight of a paperclip of agent to contaminate an area 1 km in diameter. The threat is greater still when one considers that, unlike chemicals, come biological agents can grow inside the host, increase their numbers and, in some cases, spread from hot to host. However, it should be understood that these agents are biologicals, with biological weaknesses. With the appropriate disinfectant, protection, therapy, containment and knowledge, many were manageable in the past and can also be managed now. There continues to be fear over the dire consequences of anthrax, smallpox and plague. Certainly, these threats should be taken seriously, with the realization that casualties will be high if nothing is done. However, progress has been made in defining the response to an outbreak, stockpiling antibiot
Medical countermeasures
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-SL-2004-196 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jan 2005
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Current Opinion in Pharmacology, vol 5, 2005, p 465-472

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