American Journal of Applied Sciences

Chemical and Biological Warfare: Should Rapid Detection Techniques Be Researched To Dissuade Usage? A Review

Mark R. Hurst and Ebtisam Wilkins

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2005.796.805

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 2, Issue 4

Pages 796-805

Abstract

Chemistry, microbiology and genetic engineering have opened new doorways for the human race to propel itself to a better future. However, there is a darker side to Bioengineering. One element of this is the manufacture and proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. It is clearly in the interest of humankind to prevent the future use of such weapons of mass destruction. Though many agents have been proposed as potential biological and chemical weapons, the feasibility of these weapons is a matter of conjecture. The unpredictable and indiscriminate devastation caused by natural epidemics and hazardous chemicals during wartime without medical treatment should warn humans of the dangers of employing them as weapons. This study argues rapid detection techniques may dissuade future use. Many agents are far less toxic to treatment. A quick response time to most attacks will decrease the chances of serious health issues. The agent will be less effective and discourage the attacker from using the weapon. Fortunately, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention (CWCIBWC) allows defensive work in the area of biological and chemical weapons. Consequently, the review will discuss history, delivery/dispersal systems and specific agents of the warfare. The study presents current developments in biosensors for toxic materials of defense interest. It concludes with future directions for biosensor development.

Copyright

© 2005 Mark R. Hurst and Ebtisam Wilkins. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.