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Barriers to BioweaponsThe Challenges of Expertise and Organization for Weapons Development$
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Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452888

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452888.001.0001

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The Bioproliferation Puzzle

The Bioproliferation Puzzle

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Bioproliferation Puzzle
Barriers to Bioweapons

Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter explains why the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) halted Erasmus Medical Center's plan to publish a major finding about the H5N1 bird flu. The Erasmus team, led by Ron Fouchier, had created a mutant strain of H5N1 that spread more easily among mammals. NSABB requested that scientific details be deleted before publication for fear that they might be used by terrorist groups. Based on this case, the book addresses the question: Does the threat of bioterrorism automatically increase with progress in science? It claims that the challenge in developing biological weapons is not the acquisition of scientific data and tools but in the use of the material and technologies required for the biological weapon development.

Keywords:   NSABB, H5N1 bird flu, Erasmus Medical Center, Ron Fouchier, terrorist groups, Biosecurity, bioterrorism

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