Chemical Weapons

Synthetic Biology and the Chem/Bio Threat

Synthetic biology, a set of technologies related to the design and fabrication of biological systems, poses an emerging hazard but also provides the tools to mitigate that hazard, according to…

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Treatment of Chemical Warfare Casualties

“Chemical warfare agents remain a significant and continuing threat to military forces,” according to a newly updated manual jointly issued by the Army, Navy, Air Force and…

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Report Details DoD Chem/Bio Defense Programs

Last year the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to be used as a countermeasure against Yersinia pestis, the biological agent that causes bubonic plague. The drug was developed…

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Before Eliminating Syria’s Chemical Weapons, One Must Find Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Most of the world (including the U.S.) seems to be relieved now that there is affirmative progress towards eliminating Syria’s ghastly chemical weapon (CW) stockpiles, thereby avoiding (at least for now) a military strike that no one really wanted to undertake.  The Syrian government has announced that it will soon join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).  Joining the OPCW will immediately trigger an obligation on Syria’s part to issue a written declaration identifying the number and types of CWs it currently possesses.  With history as a guide, we can safely predict that it will be an incomplete and inaccurate declaration.  That is true even if Syria fully intends to come clean regarding its CW stockpile.  This is the point where good intentions can go awry.  The problem here is that no one really trusts Syria.  The consequences of such mistrust are informed by experiences in Iraq and Libya over the last 20 years.

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