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August 4, 1989

Chemical and Biological Warfare: Should Defenses Be Researched and Deployed?

JAMA. 1989;262(5):644-648. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430050060027

The threat of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction has intensified because of improved delivery systems and advances in chemistry, genetics, and other sciences. Possible US responses to this threat include deterrence, defenses, and/or disarmament, including a reaffirmation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972, which is now in jeopardy. This article discusses the history of chemical and biological warfare, existing and potential weapons, the proliferation of weapons and delivery systems, ways to prevent the use of these weapons, and ways to protect populations from their effects.

(JAMA. 1989;262:644-648)