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August 7, 1996

The Threat of Biological Weapons— Prophylaxis and MitigationCall for Papers

JAMA. 1996;276(5):419-420. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540050079029

Recent advances in molecular biology have important implications for human welfare. On the one hand, they help man to a deeper understanding of his own evolution and functioning as the most complex of life forms on earth.... On the other hand, molecular biology might be exploited for military purposes and result in a biological weapons race whose aim could well become the most efficient means for removing man from the planet.... My gravest concern is that similar scientific breakthroughs of a rather predictable kind will be made and their potential military significance exploited, so as to result in a transformation of current doctrine about unreliable biological weapons.1

These statements about the threats of biological weapons (BW) were presented a quarter of a century ago during testimony before the United Nations Committee on Disarmament.

See also p. 349.

Two years after this testimony, the committee negotiated an international treaty, the