Biosecurity: Reawakening of new realities


Originating from Wuhan, Hubei, on January 20, 2020, the insane escalation of COVID 19 has pathologically silenced the boasting walk on the moon and the technological advancement by the humans, by infecting more than 2, 00,000 people and killing more than 45,000 people all over the world, so far. At the same time, massive transmissibility of the virus has become widely controversial with arguments both in favour and against it being a bioweapon attack. Initially, the international governing powers blamed each other for its spread with Trump repeatedly calling it a ‘Chinese virus’ and pointed out at Chinese facilities involved in similar research. On the other hand, China is suspecting American military laboratories around the world, while referring to the Biohazard containers buried at American Consulate Wuhan. The politically divided world is also divided in their opinions with the Israelis blaming Chinese and Russians blaming Americans as a part of the race for economic supremacy. The Russian news agency RIA Novosti in an article by Igor Nikulin, a former member of UN Commission on Biological and Chemical Weapons claims that he was contacted by Chinese colleagues who believe that the Coronavirus is manmade. He reported that the spread is sabotage and also speculated that this dangerous cargo from an American laboratory might have been carried out by US diplomatic staff to Wuhan. It is also supported by a foreign policy expert Lenoid Savin working at Shadowy Strategic Culture Foundation. He speculated that the creation of Coronavirus bioweapon has been adding to the strenuous relationship between the major powers.

Reflecting on the history of the spread of viruses, Dr. Thomas in his lecture refers to the findings of Steiner, a physicist, who blamed the poisoning of the cells by disturbing the electromagnetic field with excessive technological spread. In 1918, the world experienced Spanish Flu pandemic, due to a quantum leap in the electrification of the earth by the introduction of the radio waves in late 1915. Whenever, any biological system is exposed to a new electromagnetic regrouping, the toxic cells purify themselves by excreting poison. After the WWII, the radar equipment all over the world blanketed the entire earth, resulting into Hong Kong Flu pandemic in 1968. It was the first time the protective layer on the earth, which integrates the cosmic fields from the sun, the moon, the earth, the Jupiter etc and then distributes it to the living beings on the earth, was disturbed by the installations of the satellites emitting massive radioactive frequencies. The people are excreting poisons regarded as viruses almost after every six months similar to viruses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).  The coronavirus is a continuation of the same thread since electromagnetic field has once again been disturbed by 5G with 20.000 radiation emitting satellites installed, incompatible to human health. Wuhan was its first residence as first completely blanketed city.

Nevertheless, the genie is out of control and the world at large is suffering in a collateral damage. An emerging challenge lies at the intersection of science and public policy. While, biotechnology is yielding life-enhancing breakthroughs at an exhilarating pace, the community of scientists are also warning against the rise of fiercely destructive forces specifically, biological weapons. The risks and challenges are multi-diversional to the international security. The impact is on the core of the universe; the humans. Their physical, psychological, societal and economic health is at stake. The war is non-conventional and the terror is unethically individualistic transcending geographically and numerically defined nations.

Undoubtedly, a profound international cooperation and global governance of the security against the inadvertent, inappropriate, or international malicious or malevolent use of dangerous biological agents or biotechnology or radioactive technology, disturbing the blanket of the earth needs is apt. Yet more than a new international order, reaffirmation of the mutual interests through depoliticized UN like international forums derailed over a period of time would be more appropriate. The Biological Weapon Convention (BWC) came into force in 1975 under the auspices of the UN. It bans the development, production and stockpiling of entire category of Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD). It was re- emphasized in the 8th review Conference held in 2019. However, the threat to BWC always remain there as they can really effect a large population very easily at a very low cast, similar to the spread of nCoV-2019 in Wuhan.

My instant worry is where do we stand as a region in this tug of war between the zoologists and the physicists and conspiracy theorists are already active? The societies are relatively conservative while keeping the spiritual leanings close to heart, however, sometimes unreasonable. The domino affects are sporadic. An able administrative and coordinated reassurance at the regional and national levels is more needed to act more proactively against this weaponized virus. Both have largely agro-based economy.

Looking at it fairly, both India and Pakistan were at ease, as signatories of BWC. Permeating from this bio-insecurity is an opportunity for biosafety since the conduct of science largely remains in the hands of the states. The only guarantee which both Pakistan and India need to ensure is the strict adherence to the Convention since non-state actors are not only the potential users of the biological weapons, new technologies and unimaginable changing political contexts can immediately convert the bioweapons attractive to state sponsored attacks in the existing right-wing political thoughts. The growth of Hindutva as a radical political thought in India or war against minority ethnic groups would find it more compatible to sync with emerging technologies which are revolutionizing access to deadly germs and toxins.

The financial and economic stress of the lockdown paradox further complicates the South Asian region while plunging its population deep into poverty already having them fall by 248.8 million. Though, according to the World Bank Report, South Asia performed remarkably well in poverty reduction and was able to decline its poverty rates from 44.6% to 15.1% respectively, during 1990-2013. However, the PHI of South Asia is still significantly higher than that of other regions such as East Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Carribean.

Figure 2 below depicts the pace of reducing the Poverty Headcount Index (PHI) of each region along with the world average between 1990-2013.

The reasons given are the protracted political issues amongst the regional states accompanied with intrastate disturbances. The most imperative remains the conflicts between India and Pakistan which have barred the trade relations between the states weaker than the Sub-Saharan region.

Though, in the wake of Covid 19, virus attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to re-button the South Asian Association of Regional Countries (SAARC), and announced to establish a regional fund for the counter measures in a video conference held in March 2020, however, how likely it would be to share the complete information on the common enemy accurately? In the backdrop of continuing controversial brutal steps being taken by India to devoid the freedom of living with the special status under Article 370 given by the Indian Constitution itself to the people of Jammu and Kashmir or the introduction of non-democratic Citizenship Act against its own Muslim population, any joint venture for biosecurity, whether from natural or man-made pathogen, would remain farfetched. It remains inherently glued to both the benevolent and malevolent intent. Moreover, the experience of Smiling Buddha in 1974 lies afresh in the Pakistan strategic thinking. An integrated and regulated civil and military approach to address the threat is the only viable option.

Covid 19 has already lessened the burden of public awareness, yet the economically stressed nations of South Asia are passing through the added strains of biological warfare. This too needs a more collaborative across the board regional approach by devising a Regional Biological Defense System with effective policies and practices.


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