Biological weapons, as defined by the Federation of American Scientists, are “toxins and microorganisms, such as viruses and bacteria, used to deliberately inflict disease among people, animals and agriculture.” Biological weapons have been used for hundreds of years on varying scales, from the catapulting of plague-infected corpses into enemy cities in the 14th century, to the testing of infectious diseases in China during WWII, to the 2001 anthrax attacks. These weapons act discreetly, as it is hard to trace an outbreak to a particular attacker and it takes several days for an infected individual to show signs of the disease. Moreover, because biological weapons are often highly infectious, their effect on society is far reaching. While state actors have made use of biological weapons in the past, the discreet and wide-reaching aspects of biological weapons make them increasingly appealing for terrorist groups, as they have the capability to disrupt society and cause panic.
"Living Lethal Weapons,"
Osmosis Magazine: Vol. 2020
, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/osmosis/vol2020/iss1/3