Bioviolence: A Growing Threat

Document Type


Publication Date

May 2008


A looming danger confronts the world -- the threat of bioviolence. Bioviolence refers to the many ways to inflict disease as well as the many people who might choose to do so, whether heads of states, criminals, or fanatics. In comparison to use of conventional or chemical weapons, the potential death toll of a bioattack could be huge. Although the number of victims would depend on where an attack takes place, the type of pathogen, and the sophistication of the weapons maker, there is widespread consensus among experts that a heightened attack would inflict casualties exceedable only by nuclear weapons. Scientific progress is intertwined with escalating malevolence threatening human security. Progressing capabilities improve people's lives and yet, inextricably, enable truly harmful weapons against humanity. Here are the challenges to international peace and security at the beginning of the third millennium. Failing to do the right thing in response to these challenges could have dire consequences for all humanity.