Biodefense refers to group medical or military procedures that are used to re-establish the biosecurity of a nation. Threats like infectious agents or biological toxins can be utilized with negative intentions like infecting or killing humans, animals, or the environment and to initiate biological warfare.
A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs to bring epidemic or deaths in large numbers. These germs are easily available in nature. Though, they can be more harmful by increasing their ability to cause disease, spread, or resist medical treatment.
Biodefense means a medical measure to safeguard individuals from bioterrorism. This includes vaccinations and medicines. It also involves medical studies and preparations so as to respond to bioterrorist attacks.
Potential Carriers of Bioterrorism
Rabbit fever is another name for tularemia. Though tularemia has a very low death rate, but can majorly paralyze even if treated. The reason behind this disease is Francisella tularensis bacterium and is transmitted through contact with inhalation, ingestion, the fur, or contaminated water, or insect bites. Francisella tularensis is known for its extremely infectious nature. If F. tularensis would be used as a weapon, the bacteria would likely be transmitted for exposure by inhalation.
People who breathe an infectious aerosol may experience an acute respiratory illness that includes life-threatening pneumonia and systemic infection if they are not managed appropriately. The bacteria responsible for tularemia are abundant in nature and could be separated and developed in quantity in a lab. Though, emerging an effective aerosol weapon would require considerable complications.
Anthrax is a non-communicable disease that is caused due to the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The ability of Anthrax to create within small spores, or bacilli bacterium, makes it quickly penetrable to porous skin and can result in unusual symptoms within a short period of time. The spread of this pathogen in vastly populated areas is expected to result in a less than one percent mortality rate. An anthrax vaccine does exist but requires many doses for stable utilization.
Smallpox refers to a very contagious virus. It can be transmitted simply through the atmosphere and has a massive mortality rate. Smallpox was entirely eradicated from the world in the 1970s. As a biological weapon smallpox is really hard due to the very infectious nature. Also, with the slow speed with which vaccines are delivered among the common people since the eradication of the disease would make people prone in the case of an epidemic.
Causes for the growth of the Biodefense Industry
1. Rising cases of bioterrorism
Growing awareness about bioterrorism attacks in various emerging countries like Germany and the U.S. will fuel the growth of the global biodefense industry in the upcoming years. These attacks are considered as the process of a deliberate release of bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microbes, that can bring destruction.
These situations bring a devastative impact on the economy and human life & health. Further, it depletes human resources at a fast pace. Due to these scenarios, governments across the globe are taking various initiatives coupled with preventive measures to respond to these attacks.
2. Supportive governmental initiatives and growing funding by the governments in the emerged countries
There are various aspects that could boost the use of biodefenses such as favorable initiatives from the government, a surge in the number of naturally occurring outbreaks, and the rising threat of biological weapons and nuclear-armed ICBM. The wide-scale installation of environmental biosurveillance technologies by the federal government started after the anthrax mailings, and the initiatives from governments to facilitate the development of these technologies have also expanded.
3. The ability of the viruses to re-design themselves
Over the years, the domain of genetic engineering and biotechnology has seen evolvements. Therefore, it becomes possible to modify these naturally occurring viruses. They can be re-deigned to create more devastation to individuals and animals. Further, the easy accessibility of these viruses has made biodefense a major factor of the national defense for any nation.
Currently, the biodefense market is in a developmental phase. Governments across the globe planning various initiatives that makes sure about the safety of the population. Various governments are considering beginning programs that include storing vaccines and biodefense machines that can be used for an abrupt bioterrorism attack.
Governments that manage bioterrorism may include law enforcement agencies and emergency medical units. These units are called on during any incident of bioterrorism to tackle the emergency situation. Because of the increasing cases of bioterrorism across the globe, it can be assumed that the biodefense market will observe a huge development in the forthcoming years.