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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193047 Find in a Library
Title: Bio-weapons Convention Fails to Keep up with Evolving Threats
Journal: Jane's Intelligence Review  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:February 2002  Pages:30-32
Author(s): Malcolm Dando
Date Published: February 2002
Page Count: 3
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article discusses the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and efforts to strengthen the agreement.
Abstract: The latest attempt to strengthen the 1975 BTWC failed when the United States refused to accept a compromise text on verification protocol. The effort will resume in November 2002. Agreement was viewed as particularly important given the rapid pace of the biotechnology revolution and its implications for warfare and terrorism. State parties submitted information on new scientific and technological developments relevant to the convention. Scientific developments in biology are being accelerated and are increasingly leading to a wide range of new applications. The most striking change in genomics in the last 5 years has been the amount of genetic information available worldwide. A new field of studies called proteomics has evolved as a result and helps increase the understanding of microbial pathogenicity and the immune system. Proteomics is the study of the entire set of proteins expressed by the gene sequence of an organism. Examples of important new technologies include DNA microarrays (DNA chips) and DNA shuffling. This pace of change is expected to remain as high or even to increase in the next 5 year period. The dangers perceived include those from new and re-emerging diseases; from deliberate or intended misuse of the new science and technology; from the unintended outcomes of civil science and technology; and from complications for compliance monitoring. The capabilities of drug development, protein production, and drug delivery are recognized to have severe potential for misuse, increasing the risk of more stable biological and toxin weapons. The upcoming Review Conference of the BTWC is considering establishing a mechanism for state parties to work together on a more frequent basis to conduct scientific and technical reviews.
Main Term(s): Biological weapons; International cooperation
Index Term(s): International agreements; International law; Science and Technology; Scientific techniques; Subversive activities; Terrorist weapons
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