18 Jul '12, 2pm

Secrecy News: The History of the Soviet Biological Weapons Program

In an effort to enhance the weapons-related properties of BW agents, Soviet scientists spent years working to create a viral “chimera,” which is an organism that contains genetic material from two or more other organisms. Other scientists worked to eliminate the “epitopes” on the surface of existing BW agents in order to make them unrecognizable to regular diagnostic techniques. By using such a modified agent, “the Soviets would have made it considerably more difficult for the attacked population to identify the causative pathogen of the resulting disease outbreak and begin timely treatment.” A project codenamed Hunter (Okhotnik) sought to develop hybrids of bacteria and viruses such that use of an antibiotic to kill the bacteria would trigger release of the virus. “Unlike other national BW programs, which without exception used only classical or traditional applied microb...

Full article: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2012/07/soviet_bw.html

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