Terrorists could use genetically modify diseases to attack their enemies, and the consequences would be devastating. If terrorists were able to obtain the biotechnology which allowed them to genetically modify a pathogen or virus, the consequences could be deadly for humanity. The virus would need to be altered in a way that scientists are unfamiliar with to truly maximise chaos.
Much in the same way as vaccines are created – by identifying the antigen which triggers the immune response which are then isolated and then injected it into humans – a similar process could happen by identifying the lethal traits in viruses to make them even more harmful.
Bryan Walsh, author of the book End Times which details the existential threats humanity faces, believes that if terrorists could obtain the technology to modify viruses, the consequences could be dire.
Mr Walsh told Express.co.uk: “When I look into the near future, the thing that worries me the most is the threat of a bioengineered pandemic created out the lab using some of these new tools for genetic editing.
That is particularly dangerous because diseases and pandemics are a threat already but what could be created in a lab on purpose say by terrorists would be much worse than anything created by nature.
“These technologies can advance even faster than the practitioners realise and there is no real control system.”
Earlier this year, a team of researchers run simulations on a bioterror attack using smallpox in the Asia Pacific region, and discovered there is no way authorities could act quickly enough to prevent an epidemic.
In their test, called ‘Exercise Mataika’, the scientists started the outbreak in Fiji.
The team explained: “A first case of haemorrhagic smallpox occurs in a private hospital in Fiji, but the diagnosis is missed, as clinicians are not familiar with the disease.
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Vaccines arrive in Fiji, but the simulation predicts that the smallpox has already spread to other, more populous, countries in Asia.
The researchers, from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), added: “In a worst-case scenario, at the peak of the epidemic, worldwide, only 50 percent of smallpox cases are isolated and only 50 percent of contacts are tracked and vaccinated, causing a catastrophic blow-out in the epidemic.
“Under these conditions, modelling shows it will take more than a billion doses and 10 years to stop the epidemic.
“In the final phase of the epidemic, which becomes a pandemic, the workforce is decimated, leaving critical infrastructure, transport, power, communications and food supplies compromised.
“Trust in government and authority structures has disappeared, and legitimate attempts at communication by authorities are viewed with suspicion and fuel conspiracy theories.”