Our world is still recovering from the deathly biological pandemic, while almost everything went online, restricting meetings to such an extent that it became next to impossible. The death rates were increasing like the grim reaper have taken the walk on the earth, delivering as many deaths as possible.
Almost everyone was suffering, the globalization of the world ensured the transferability of the death curve to its maximum potential, and indeed it became a pandemic that was capable of subduing humanity.
However, we need to understand, it wasn’t the first time that humanity faced such a situation because of a pathogen. Surprised, if not then you are aware of the history but, if yes, let me tell you why the spreadability of COVID-19 has resurfaced the scar of the world. In addition to that you will also realize how we (humans) devoted ourselves to harming our kind to an extent, that lethal pathogens became child’s play for us.
To understand the statements above, firstly, we need to understand what kinds of dangerous microorganisms coexist with us.
Paathogens and Humans
The world is wide and there are many microorganisms living in it, however, we are focusing on the category of microorganisms called pathogens. But why do we care about pathogens specifically?
Because a pathogen is a biological agent that can cause disease in a host. They are microorganisms that are harmful, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Not restricted to it, they can be larger organisms such as worms or other animals and can be transmitted to a host through various means, such as through contaminated food or water, through bites from infected animals or insects, or close contact with an infected person or animal.
Once a pathogen has entered a host, it may multiply and cause an infection. Some infections may be mild and cause only minor symptoms, while others can be severe and even life-threatening.
However, a host can protect against pathogens just by one means. That is their immune system. The immune system of the host plays a key role in protecting against pathogenic infections by recognizing and eliminating pathogens before they can cause harm.
The human and pathogens interaction has caused many problems, many go unrecognized, however, evidence of it dates back to ancient civilizations.
For example, the plague of Athens, which occurred in 430-426 BC, was likely caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and is one of the earliest recorded outbreaks of bacterial infection. The viral outbreak of smallpox in ancient Egypt. And the influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 virus Is one of them.
Nevertheless, all these instances were natural. At least, for now. But why have I said so? The reason is because of the history of humanity, many times outbreak was the wish of humans rather than god.
Weaponization of Pathogens
If you are in confusion about the last line of the above section, allow me to offer clearance regarding it but first some prerequisite knowledge.
Despite having, different civilizations, humans have one thing in common in different civilizations, whether it’s the Indus valley or the Chinese. And that is the urge to assert dominance over others. Whether it’s on an individual or civilization level. Throughout history, many wars revolved around it.
While fighting a war, humans utilized every way possible to win the war. The conduct of war later came to be known as warfare, and it sooner became the most crucial to winning any war. Out of many warfares method, one is biological warfare, where we use lethal pathogens like toys.
In biological warfare (BW), living organisms or their products are used as weapons. It is a type of warfare involving bacteria, viruses, toxins, or other biological agents to harm or incapacitate people, animals, or plants. Thus they are known as biological weapons.
Biological weapons are weapons of mass destruction because they can cause widespread illness and death to many. Furthermore, its spreadability of it can range from air, and water, to food,(basic requirements of humans) which makes it difficult to detect and defend against.
Long story short, weapons have the potential to wipe out the entire civilization.
But if you are thinking that humans are rational enough not to use it, then you need to know some of the incidences. So, stay tuned.
Irrationality of Humans
In the past, humans have used biological weapons too. Some examples of it include
- During the 6th century BC, the ancient Assyrians are believed to have used poison-tipped arrows and slingshots to spread diseases among their enemies.
- In the 14th century, the Tartars are believed to have used the bodies of plague victims as biological weapons during the sieges of cities in Europe.
- During World War II, the Japanese military is believed to have conducted biological warfare experiments on prisoners of war and civilians in China, using agents such as anthrax, plague, and cholera.
- In the 1990s, the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan attempted to use biological weapons, including anthrax and the Ebola virus, in a series of attacks.
- The use of anthrax by the Soviet Union in its conflict with Afghanistan in the 1980s.
- The release of the bacterial agent Bacillus anthracis (which causes anthrax) in the US in 2001, resulted in several deaths and widespread fear of biological terrorism.
And the most terrifying example lies in the era of colonization by colonizers in different parts of the world.
Smallpox, caused by the variola virus, was a highly contagious and deadly disease that was responsible for countless deaths throughout history. There have been several documented instances of smallpox being used as a biological weapon during colonization.
One example occurred in the 18th century when British colonists in North America gave blankets contaminated with smallpox to Native American tribes as a means of warfare. This led to the spread of smallpox among the Native American populations and contributed to their decline.
Other instances of the use of smallpox as a biological weapon during colonization include the use of the disease by the Spanish against the Aztecs in Mexico and by the British against the Maori in New Zealand.
For our relief, the use of smallpox as a weapon is prohibited by international law and considered a war crime, and the virus was eradicated in 1980 after a successful could global vaccination camp.
From this series of examples, we can now understand how rational human beings are when it comes to winning a war. However, the situation now is quite better than earlier.
Biological War: A Future?
Since we have seen how irrational we were, using pathogens as a means of warfare and annihilating kind of humans. However, the situation now is currently better, at least on paper.
Currently, the use of biological weapons is prohibited in the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) international treaty that prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, and use of biological weapons.
However, can we trust that out of two more than 200 countries with every kind of government, democracies to dictatorships are going to follow it? Furthermore, who has the responsibility to enforce international laws in these countries?
Moreover, the violation of international law laws has resurfaced various times, and concerns that they could be used in the future remain intact.
there have been allegations of the use of biological weapons in the past, and there are concerns that they could be used in the future remains intact.
In the past years, we are suffering from an outbreak of COVID-19. However, the most fearful part about the virus is the conspiracy theory behind it, including the claim that the virus was artificial and meant to be a biological weapon, however, it leaked. These claims were even proposed by leaders of the USA.
As of now, it is believed that covid 19 had spread to humans from animals which is pretty common in the course of history. However, there is catch, Former US President Donald Trump has alleged the virus is man-made rather than natural adaption. To the mass, it appears like science fiction. However, keep that in mind the “meta” which is the future of the internet was just a concept in science fiction novels in 1992. Therefore, it is not out of the question that such incidents will occur in the future.
The question for humanity is whether we have learned our lessons or not. Whether we are gonna depend on the international treaty for the containing the biological weapon, rather than a tough punishment are we gonna rely on the moral stance of the country for it? Moreover, thinking about a scenario of developing a biological weapon isn’t the only scary possibility, the war is also in the queue for it.
Well, thanks to covid pandemic we can predict the scenario of it where the world will suffer from biological weapon leakage. Because in covid the pandemic, the world has reacted in the same way as they will react in the biological war.
Because today we are at the peak of globalization and every country is connected more than ever, and with further advancement of technology, barriers or distance will diminish day by day, in such a scenario biological weapons, will not only affect the targeted country but also the allies of the countries, as we see in the covid pandemic the human to human contact reduction was next to impossible in the current stage.
However, unlike the covid pandemic, in biological war, the main focus of the transferability will be specific and much more structured than in the covid pandemic. Biological weapons would be designed for infecting major populations with the maximum spreadability possible.
In war, the primary objective of any country is to seize the economic activities of the country, based on that we can deduce that firstly, the weapon would be used in the financial hubs of the country, because of it the economic activities generating revenue will start creating internal as well as economical pressure on the country to end the war as soon as possible, thus ending them in disadvantage.
In case of it, the spread of the pathogen will originate from the cities and then will spread to the countryside. As we saw in the covid cases where a lockdown had been imposed for containing the pathogen, however, it soon became a migrant crisis.
In addition to that, the aim is to make the country leaderless or with a weak army force, so the capital and the army camp location would be hit list on the weapon and to make the country leaderless, they will rely on the pathogen contamination and the internal disruptions, to create they will invoke a civil war or similar situation, how?
Since the design of the weapon would contaminate as much as possible, the countryside where the majority of the population resides will get infected, because the healthcare unavailability and absence of resources would infuriate the population, and a revolt would begin. At one moment, the country has to take decisions about whether they have to give up on the war or on the country itself, otherwise, the country wouldn’t survive.
Nevertheless, this all is imagination. Not even in hell would I want that to become true? However, the history associated with it is a reality throughout the world. Because of it, we can deny the future where biological warfare will not happen.