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G.Y. Scherbakov

JSC "Biopreparat"

Driving forces of progress in history of evolution of the mankind remained always science and morality. Scientific advances become impetus to evolution of the society, while ethics was considered as a guide determining the application of these advances. Science allowed humans to have in their disposal a vapor machine, electricity, nuclear reactor, computer, and penicillin. Weapons, including mass destruction weapon, is also a creation of scientists working in laboratories. Practically any scientific finding may be treated as dual-purpose technologies, as means for making a choice between good and evil. In other words, any person, who does not carry a burden of high moral laws, is in a position to develop means of mass destruction and apply them successfully. Biological weapon is mostly available from this arsenal.

Among the least controllable and mostly dangerous threats to the mankind, the majority of experts name first of all bioaggression, bioterrorism and "ecological wars". For example, biological terrorism is officially considered one of main potential threats to national security of the United States of America. This consideration is based on facts of terroristic attacks taken place in the country, as well as on predictions resulted from the analysis of advances in the field of biology and biotechnology.

Revolution made in biology at the boundary of the second and third millenniums has led to not only advanced biotechnology and breakthrough in medicine, agriculture and other branches of economy, but also provided science-and-technology backgrounds for developing sophisticated biological means of mass destruction. This in its turn makes them an attractive tool for achieving superiority and objectives planned. According to available information, only intellectual and psychological barriers but not technological-and -economic ones hamper terrorists and criminals to use biological agents to destroy individuals, as well as in mass terroristic actions. However, these barriers may be easily broken in the nearest future.

Appreciating highly national and international contributes into programs to reduce, prohibit and non-proliferate mass destruction weapons, and to strengthen confidence and transparency, I would like to note that unfortunately, upon creating a global coalition counteracting bioterrorism, principles of systematics, continuity, succession and required sufficiency were not fully realized. Depending on existing situation or time interval, either political or technocratic strategies prevail.


Biological threat
- negative impact of biological pathogens of any level and origin (from prions and microorganisms to multi-cellular parasites), Which bring the threat to medicine-and- social, technological, agricultural, and communal areas.

Safety biological
- state of protection of people, farm animals, plants, and the environment against threats resulted from a source of biology-social emergency situation.

Biological terrorism
- the use of dangerous biological agents in order to adversely affect life and health of people for the sake of achievement of political and material objectives.

- compounds of biological origin affecting significantly processes taking place in organism; examples of biological regulators are different physiological regulators, such as vasopressin, renin, insulin and some others.

Genetically modified (designed) organisms
- micro - and macro-organisms which carry artificially modified genome determining changes of properties of organism.


Main sources of natural and technogenic biological factors, which can adversely affect health of people and animals, including their death, and damage society and economy by spreading dangerous biological agents, are as follows:

- a complex of factors of natural and technogenic origin, which destroy environmental objects.

Dangerous biological agents
- pathogenic microorganisms and parasites, which cause diseases of humans, animals and plants, degrade materials and produce a harmful effect on the environment.

- toxic products generated by microorganisms, natural animal or plant poisons or their analogs produced by methods of chemical synthesis, and highly active proteins that are very toxic for higher animals (ricin, diphtheria and botulinum toxins, etc).

Data on sources of the biological threat and potential methods of application of bioagents are presented in Supplements 1 and 2.


  1. Natural loci of dangerous and especially dangerous pathogens causing infectious diseases in humans, farm animals, and plants.
  2. Accidents and sabotage at biologically dangerous facilities.
  3. Trans-boundary transfer of pathogens, representatives of flora and fauna, that may bring the threat to ecosystems.
  4. Biological terrorism.
  5. The use of weapons during war-time.


  1. Geopolitical situation
  2. Regional instability
  3. Mass people migration
  4. Ecological and sanitary-epidemiological situation
  5. Deformed state structure
  6. Administrative uncoupling
  7. Reduced scientific and production potential
  8. Drug and food dependence on another countries.
  9. Criminogenic situation.


The idea of application of pathogenic microorganisms as means of destruction was provoked by the spread of infectious diseases with enormous human deaths, and by outbreaks going side by side with wars and a great number of casualties, thereby pre-determining the outcome of battles and even big campaigns. So, out of 27 thousands of British soldiers involved in predatory campaign in Mexico and Peru in 1741, 20 thousand died from yellow fever. Between 1733 and 1865, about 8 million people become victims of European wars. Of them only 1.5 million people were military casualties, while 6.5 million people died because of different infections. History of wars of the past remembers many similar examples (E.I. Smirnov. Wars and Outbreaks. М., 1984).

Outbreaks among people serving in rear also brought severe consequences, which resulted in disorganization of industry, transportation and state apparatus as a whole.

Infectious diseases influence markedly on the course of military actions. So, during the war in Viet-Nam, the number of deaths among soldiers and officers because of infections was 3-fold higher than that of wounded and killed men.

The targeted and systematic development of this type of weapons was first initiated only in early XX century on the basis of advances in biology, improved knowledge of nature and routes of the spread of pathogens. During the World War I, Germany made a number of attempts to use biological means for sabotage.

In years preceding the World War II, Japanese militarists were actively conducting research on designing biological weapon. They built two big scientific centers (teams ## 731 and 100) on the territory of Manchuria. In addition to research and production departments, the centers had sites, where tests of biological means were carried out with the involvement of not only laboratory animals but also prisoners of war and population of China (evidences of planned and realized biological terroristic actions are presented in Annex № 3).

Experts from different countries pay a great attention to a possibility of the use of biological agents for terrorism and sabotage.

At the same time, it should be noted that biological agents are easy to get and to use. They are rather cheap and selective, and can be spread in a privy way. According to NATO military expert estimates, pathogens of typhoid, paratyphoid, dysentery, cholera, as well as botulinum toxin and some other agents are mostly appropriate agents to be dissipated within public facilities equipped with conditioners, drinking water reservoirs, and storehouses for food stuffs and cosmetic products.

Of special danger is the spread of the agents in the underground. According to publications, 200g of a biological preparation sprayed within metro may result in disability of more than 300 thousand people.

In 1972 in the USA two terrorists were placed on trial on a charge of conspiracy to contaminate drinking water supply system in Chicago with bacteria of typhoid and some other pathogen.

Another example of application of biological agents is a trial of the leader of the sect "Aum-Senrike", when during the investigation laboratory equipment for producing botulinum toxin and B. anthracis had been found.

Different extremist and criminal groups can plan sabotage actions for facilities and research institutes working authorized pathogens to develop and produce immunobiological preparations in order to capture these facilities in case of refusal to meet requirements of terrorists. The embezzlement of pathogenic agents from collections for the above purposes is also possible.

A possibility of panic and disturbance of the public life due to false threats of application of pathogens is not ruled out.

All above facts allow one to draw a conclusion about really existing sources of biological threats not only to Russia, but also to the global community as a whole. Currently, problems on prevention of the threats are of priority for the global community and require utilizing all available resources to develop a number of measures in order to prevent and eliminate possible consequences of these threats.

(system developed by Russian scientists)

Group I
(high probability of use, rank** >. 15)

Group II
(probable use, rank 10-1 4)

Group III
(weak probability of use, rank <10)
Pathogenic agent Rank Pathogenic agent Rank Pathogenic agent Rank


26 Brucellosis 13 Hidrophobia 8
Plague 23 Japanese encephalitis 13 Typhoid fever 7
Anthrax 21 Yellow fever 13 Dysentery 6
Botulism 21 Cholera 13 Staphylococcus 5
Virus encephalitis lymphocytic   Diphtheria 12 HIV 5
Tularemia 20        
Q - fever 20        
Marburg - fever 18        
Influenza 17        
Glanders 17        
Typhus 17        

(developed by CDC Strategic Planning Working Group, Atlanta, USA)

Category А
(Agents of high priority presenting risk for national security)*

Category В
(agents of high priority) **
Category С
(agents of high priority,
emergent pathogens that can be designed and disseminated) ***
  • Variola major (varioloid)
  • Bacillus anthracis (anthrax)
  • Yersinia pestis (plague)
  • Toxin Clostridium botulinum (botulism)
  • Francisella tularensis (tularemia)
  • Flaviviruses of hemorrhagic fevers: Ebole, Marburg
  • Aren aviruses:
    Lassa fever, Junin (Argentinian hemorrhagic fever) and some other related viruses
  • Coxiella bumetti
  • Species of Bmcella (brucellosis)
  • Burkholderia mallei (glanders)
  • Alpha viruses: Venezuela encephalomyelitis, woodcutter and West encephalomyelites
  • Toxin ricin, Ricinus communis (castor-oil plant)
  • Epsilon toxin Clostridium perfringens (gas gangrene)
  • Staphylococcal enterotoxin В (food- and water-borne pathogens):
  • Species of Salmonella,
  • Shigella dysenteria
  • Escherichia coli 0157:H7
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Cryptosporidium parvum, etc.
  • Nipah virus (Nipah disease)
  • Chantaviruses
  • Tick-borne hemorrhagic fever viruses
  • Tick-borne encephalitis viruses
  • Yellow fever virus
  • Multidrug resistant tuberculosis
* Can me easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person; high mortality; main impact on people health; mass panic and social order disturbance; special preparedness of health care services is needed. **Can be rather easily disseminated; moderate morbidity and mortality; good diagnostics and medical surveillance is needed.

*** These agents are accessible (prospective); easy for production and dissemination; represent a potential for high morbidity and a major blow to the health of population.


The organizer/performer of terrorist act
The object of attack
Method of use
1916 Rudolf Nadolni - a secretary of embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, Germany (chief). Maximilian Karl William von Ratibor - German ambassador in Madrid, Spain. Members of embassies in other countries. Animals (horses and cattle), intended for export from Spain (in England or France), from Romania, Argentina and the USA The bacteria -agents of glanders and anthrax (cultures, presumably, received in the Embassy in Berlin from the laboratory of Military-veterinary academy in Berlin). Glass tubes with bacterial cultures hidden in soap with marks: E-eques (horse), В- bos (cattle) Recently it is established by the Berlin expert in molecular biology, Erhard Gaisler, at analysis of the telegrams in the archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bonne.
Baron Otto Karl von Rozen Chief of " tourist group", detained on the border of Finland and Swede Baron Otto Karl von Rozen Chief of " tourist group", detained on the border of Finland and Sweden The bacteria-agent of anthrax Ampulla's with culture in 19 pieces of sugar, hidden in cans with the label of braised meat, which have found in the "tourist" luggage. In 1998 as a result of analysis of the saved material in Sweden (Oslo) and England (Porton-Down, The Center of Chemical and Biological Protection) the culture of the agent of anthrax is isolated.
1930 Japan The inhabitants of the Chinese city The Bacteria-agent of plague Rice and grain, infected by plague fleas, dropped on the city from the plane  
1972 R.I.S.E - student organization in the USA At first it was the idea of murder of a large part of mankind on the Earth, later - of population of 8 states around Chicago (the USA). Microbial pathogens -agents: typhoid, diphtheria, dysentery and meningitides Aerosol base treatment of cultures from the plane and contamination of water-supply buildings The idea is to keep "selected" race in alive. The attack was broke when the cultures were found. Then 2 performers ran in Cuba.
1984 Leaders of Indian religious cult organization (Re-jneeshee Cult) in the USA. The inhabitants of Dallas and Wasco Conti Culture of salmonellas - Salmonella typhus Various methods of diffusion: mainly by contamination of salads in restaurants and cafe. The aim of authority seizure during the elections in local organs of self-management. As a result 750 persons were ill almost simultaneously. The plot is uncovered after bankruptcy of the organization and reports of its members.
1991 The right wing of political "patriotic" motion in Minnesota (the USA) "Minnesota Patriots Council" The officers of Internal Revenue Service - IRS and official members in the USA. Toxin ricin, abstracted from Castor-oil plant Mail sendings, processed by ricin aerosol or covered by pellicle, keeping toxin, dimethylsulfoxid (DMSO) and aloe juice. The aim: to render pressure on US Federal Government in connection with the local law of taxation. As a result of the intrusion of FBI informators
in group, 4 key members were arrested.
1995 The sect "Awn Shinrikyo" in Japan, calling for installation of theocratic state, to be rescued from " Trial by single combat". The population of Japanese cities Masymoto and Tokyo, individual opponents of sect cult, representatives of judicial and police authority. Agents of anthrax, Q-fever and Ebola fever, botulinic toxin (also chemical agents - zarin, УХ, hidrogenciamid It is undertaken about 10 attacks by aerosol dispersion with the biological agent All known attacks have failed. ( From chemical poisoning in June 1994 and in March 1995 in the underground of Masymoto and Tokyo 200 persons are killed and about 100/142/or more than 1000 /125\ persons are wounded).
1995 The saboteurs of Tadjik opposition Separate rocket division of 191 motorized shooter regiment of peace-maker division of Russian Army in Kurgan-Tube (Tadzhikistan). Urine of jaundiced patients Biomaterial was administrated in watermelons and peaches. Poisoning of almost all division.
1997 Extremist group in the USA ? High contagious culture of the agent of plague Delivery of the biological agent with the help of mail. Plans to commit terrorist acts were not realized. The group is arrested.
1999 Lany Wayne Harris, connected with Christian Identity" and the group of "white" superiority (for example, Aryan nation). US statesmen, belonged to the right wing Patriots groups". The harvest on the fields of the country. Vaccine strains of agents of anthrax and plague, but also other bacteria. Pollination of harvest from the plane and other methods Pollination of harvest from the plane and other methods war of Iraq"; America is for white -skinned people. Arrested.
2001 Mohamed Atta is the most probable key figures, a leader of plotters (apparently, an emigrant from Egypt, who was granted American citizenship Outstanding political figures and US individuals Anthrax agent. Biomaterial could be obtained from the special services of Iraq and\or Cuba Bacillus in the powder, delivered in envelopes by mail. There is official information in the USA (2001), it is revealed 12 nidi of anthrax. 40 infected people, from them - 16 persons were ill (4 persons are under suspicion). Apparently, the main aim: to sow panic.

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Proceedings of First Russian Workshop on Biological Security
Copyright © Committee of Scientists for Global Security and Arms Control