Discuss the challenges in dealing with bioterrorism. What are the existing measures that India has to counter biological attacks? Is there a need for Bio-terrorism law? Analyze.

The spread of Covid-19 in the world has exposed the vulnerability to biological agents and has raised concerns about Bioterrorism. Bioterrorism is the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs that can sicken or kill people, livestock, or crops.

Biological weapons may contain bacteria, viruses, biological toxins, fungi, etc. Bacillus anthracis is the most likely microorganism to be used for biological weapons, it causes anthrax.

Associated challenges:

  • The biggest challenge associated with biological weapons is that even small amounts are capable to infect a large population.
  • It can be effortlessly hidden, transported, and discharged into vulnerable populations.
  • It can have a great impact on the military and civilians and there is a lot of complexity involved in offering safeguards.

Existing measures to deal with bioterrorism:

  • 50% of forces of the National Disaster Response Force are trained to handle biological disasters.
  • Cartagena Protocol on biosafety provides rules for the safe handling of biologically modified organisms.
  • WHO’s Public Health Emergency of International Concern stipulates steps to warn the nations in case of the spread of the epidemic.
  • Integrated disease surveillance program in India to monitor the spread of diseases and epidemics.

Need for a law on Bioterrorism:

  • A large vulnerable population with a high density per square km increases the risk of the easy spread of diseases.
  • An inadequate healthcare system was highlighted during the Covid pandemic, which was insufficient to treat so many people at once.
  • Threat to national security. The security response can be weakened and slowed by bioterrorism.

Thus, recently Parliamentary standing committee on health suggested formulating laws on bioterrorism.

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