Bio-warfare experts question why Canada was sending lethal viruses to China
[Canada.com] In a table-top pandemic exercise at Johns Hopkins University last year, a pathogen based on the emerging Nipah virus was released by fictional extremists, killing 150 million people.A less apocalyptic scenario mapped out by a blue-ribbonU.S. panelenvisioned Nipah being dispersed by terrorists and claiming over 6,000 American lives.
Scientists from Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) have also said the highly lethal bug is a potential bio-weapon.
But this March that same lab shipped samples of the henipavirus family and of Ebola to China, which has long beensuspected of running a secretive biological warfare(BW) program.
China strongly denies it makes germ weapons, and Canadian officials say the shipment was part of its efforts to support public-health research worldwide. Sharing of such samples internationally is relatively standard practice.
But some experts are raising questions about the March transfer, which appears to be at the centre of a shadowy RCMP investigation and dismissal of a top scientist at the Winnipeg-based NML.
"I would say this Canadian ’contribution’ might likely be counterproductive," said Dany Shoham, a biological and chemical warfare expert at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University. "I think the Chinese activities ... are highly suspicious, in terms of exploring (at least) those viruses as BW agents. "
James Giordano, a neurology professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow in biowarfare at the U.S. Special Operations Command, said it’s worrisome on a few fronts.
China’s growing investment in bio-science, looser ethics around gene-editing and other cutting-edge technology and integration between government and academia raise the spectre of such pathogens being weaponized, he said.
That could mean an offensive agent, or a modified germ let loose by proxies, for which only China has the treatment or vaccine, said Giordano, co-head of Georgetown’s Brain Science and Global Law and Policy Program.
Posted by: Besoeker 2019-08-09