Medical aspects of biological weapon protection
The development, production and use of biological weapons are prohibited by international treaties to which many WHO Member States have subscribed. Not all have done so, however, and valid concerns remain that some may yet use such weapons. Moreover, non-state entities may try to obtain them for purposes of terrorism.
In fact, the development, production and use of biological and chemical weapons are quite difficult, and they have only rarely been used. This applies particularly to biological weapons. Even so, the magnitude of the possible effects on civilian populations of their use or threatened use obliges governments both to seek to prevent such use and to prepare response plans, which can and should be developed as in integral part of existing national emergency plans.
New technology can contribute substantially to such plans, as is evident, for example, from the increasing availability of robust and relatively simple methods of rapid and specific laboratory diagnosis by DNA-based and other molecular methods. Such methods are also widely used in surveillance and treatment of natural disease.