The independent resource on global security

Biological and Toxin Weapons Today

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 0-19-829108-6
207 pp.

The second Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention takes place in Geneva in September 1986. Since the Convention came into force in 1975, the potential for the development and use of biological warfare and toxin warfare agents has radically changed. This is mainly a result of the introduction of genetic engineering, protein engineering, and other biotechnologies. Use of these techniques allows the development of new biological warfare and toxin warfare agents. It also permits the making of agents already under consideration for warfare purposes more effective. These methods also allow the development of vaccines to protect against these agents.

In this book, experts from different fields and from both East and West discuss these possibilities especially with respect to the provisions of the Convention. In the final chapter twenty eminent scientists from seven different countries of both East and West endorse an agreed set of conclusions and recommendations for consideration by the governments which have ratified the Convention. The recommendations are intended to strengthen the treaty regime and to ensure that progress in the fields of bioscience is not applied to the development and use of powerful agents of mass destruction.


1. Introduction
Erhard Geissler

2. A new generation of biological weapons
Erhard Geissler

3. The changing status of toxin weapons
Erhard Geissler and Karlheinz Lohs

4. A new generation of vaccines against biological and toxin weapons
Erhard Geissler

5. The fallacy of defensive biological weapon programmes
Harlee Strauss and Jonathan King

6. US military and chemical and biological weapons
Alfred Mechtersheimer

7. Verification of the Biological Weapons Convention
Raymond A. Zilinskas

8. Strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972
Richard Falk

9. Conclusions and recommendations
E. Geissler, F. Blackaby, R. A. Falk, J. King, Kh. Lohs, A. Mechtersheimer, H. Strauss, R. A. Zilinskas and R. Trapp


Appendix 1. The 1925 Geneva Protocol

Appendix 2. The 1948 Genocide Convention

Appendix 3a. The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention

Appendix 3b. Review of the negotiations leading to the Biological Weapons Convention

Appendix 3c. Final declaration of the (first) Review Conference of the Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention

Appendix 4. States parties to the 1925 Geneva Protocol; the 1948 Genocide Convention; and the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention

Appendix 5. Genetic engineering methods

Appendix 6. Transmission of neural information and the action of neurotoxic agents

Appendix 7. Development and production of vaccines