Bio-Terrorism and the Need for Appropriate Law

Why in news?
The formation of appropriate laws to combat bioterrorism has been advocated by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health (Nov 2020)

* The intentional release or threat of release of biological agents (i.e. viruses, bacteria, fungi, or
their toxins) in order to cause disease or death among human population or food crops and
livestock to terrorize a civilian population or manipulate the government is called bioterrorism.
* It can also involve genetic modification of these virus/bacterias etc. to make them more harmful
by increasing their ability to cause disease, spread, or resist medical treatment.
* The adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic have taught the lesson on the importance of
controlling biological agents and the need of strategic partnerships among different nations.

Steps needed to ensure security against biological weapons:
* Strengthening disease surveillance (including animal-human interface)
* The most important step in the event of a bioterrorist attack is the identification of the
attack. This would require high degree of technical surveillance and generating awareness
among people.
* Be prepared for Management of bio-terrorist events: Training and capacity building for management of public health emergencies arising from use of bioweapons
* Strengthen research and surveillance activities related to development of diagnostics, vaccines
and drugs.
* Effective law to counter bioterrorism.
* Health ministry should engage with security agencies and actively participate in ongoing
international treaties.
* Be ready for retaliation as sometimes threat of offence becomes the best deterrence against
terror activities.

Categories: POINT IAS

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