COVID-19 a Biological weapon at a heavy cost!

It is upto you now, for this crisis will pass too; but will we as Sri Lankan change for the better or continue with divisiveness!

In 1720 plague, 1820 cholera outbreak, 1920 Spanish Flu, 2020 COVID-19 virus–What is happening! As the whole world struggle with the COVID-19 pandemics, the best control is self discipline to practice and induce others around to do the same; if every one rigidly follow instructions given by the health authorities could come out it in two or three months or be doomed!

This is easily said than done, so far Sri Lankans have done well, if we can continue with the same precautions for another month or two and would have gone over the hump, provided all around us follow instructions of the health authorities. Fortunately,  we are blessed to have an administer as Head of State with a positive attitude, compared to political leaders of the past. Perhaps he was encouraged by the way how China was tackling the issue. But credit must go to the health authorities and the security forces for keeping the situation under control and it is up to every SriLankan to bring the crisis to a halt.

The whole world know with the start of the cold war in the sixties USA began research to develop chemical and biological ammunition. It is also said that some biological weapons were taken to China, that caused the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan. These are tales that may take years to find if there is any truth in it or not. But we know the damages caused to humanity and the rest of the story to date.

Earlier research into deadly viruses and biological weapons at US army lab shut down over fears they could escape Fort Detrick researchers banned from working with anthrax, Ebola and smallpox until procedures improved Researchers at Fort Detrick have been barred from working with the most dangerous pathogens after an inspection ( Shutterstock ) America’s main biological warfare lab has been ordered to stop all research into the deadliest viruses and pathogens over fears contaminated waste could leak out of the facility.

Whereas, Fort Detrick, in Maryland, has been the epicentre of the US Army’s bioweapons research since the beginning of the Cold War. But last month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – the government’s public health body – stripped the base of its license to handle highly restricted “select agents”, which includes Ebola, smallpox and anthrax. The unusual move follows an inspection by the CDC at Fort Detrick which found several problems with new procedures used to decontaminate waste water.

For years the facility used a steam sterilisation plant to treat waste water, but after a storm flooded and ruined that machinery last year, Fort Detrick switched to a new chemical-based decontamination system. But the CDC inspectors found the new procedures were not sufficient, with both mechanical failures causing leaks and researchers failing to properly follow the rules.

As a result, the organisation sent a “cease and desist” order to Fort Detrick, forcing it to suspend all research on select agents. Although the United States officially abandoned its biological weapons programme in 1969, Fort Detrick has continued defensive research into deadly pathogens on the list of “select agents”, including the Ebola virus, the organisms that cause the plague, and the highly toxic poison ricin.

The army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, based at Fort Detrick, says its primary mission today is to “protect the warfighter from biological threats” but its scientists also investigate outbreaks of disease among civilians and other threats to public health. In recent years it has been involved in testing possible vaccines for Ebola, after several epidemics of the deadly virus in Africa.

A spokeswoman for the lab said  despite the CDC suspension order, there had not been any threat to public health or any leaks of hazardous material outside the base.   Scientists have warned that US military plan to spread viruses using insects could create ‘new class of biological weapon’ and the shutdown of research at Fort Detrick is likely to last several months.

This is not the first time the lab has been temporarily shut down due to failures in handling the dangerous pathogens inside. In 2009, research at Fort Detrick was suspended because it was discovered it was storing pathogens which were not listed on its inventory. The regulations on keeping close track of hazardous biological material were tightened after the 2001 anthrax attacks, which saw five people die after spores were posted to several media newsrooms and Democratic senators. The FBI suspect in the 2001 case, a senior biological weapons researcher at Fort Detrick killed himself in 2008, shortly before the FBI was planning to charge him with the attacks.

In this background, China being projected as the future Supper Power would have prepared itself to handled a crisis from this class of new biological weapons. This was proved the way they handled the crisis at Wuhan and how COVID-19 outbreak was brought under control literally in weeks, while the large powers are struggling to get to the same position.

Further all credit to China with its efforts to get its economy back on track. They are so successful that they are able to provide medical equipment and other essential materials to the rest of the world. It certainly gives hope for us in SriLanka, so let us first follow the rules and regulations imposed on us by the authorities to get over the crisis.

All SriLankan must accept this little nation is once more in difficulties and it’s going to be very painful to come out of it; but have no alternative but must get to dry ground as soon as possible from this sticky situation. We did it with the civil-war, where we were all in it together, but left many issues un resolved.

But could come good out of this imported crisis, if we all work together as one nation, forgetting all divisiveness in our minds implanted by greedy politicians. For there no danger anymore for Buddhism nor any danger to Tamil Language as painted by the politicians; who will go out of business if their respective people change their mindset on these matters.