BIOWARFARE 03/02/2011
        Biological warfare (BW), also known as germ warfare, is the deliberate use of disease-causing biological agents such as protozoa, fungi, bacteria, protists, orviruses, to kill or incapacitate humans, other animals or plants. Biological weapons (often referred to as bioweapons) are living organisms or replicating entities (virus) that reproduce or replicate within their host victims.

        Biological weapons may be employed in various ways to gain a strategic or tactical advantage over an adversary, either by threat or by actual deployment. Like some of the chemical weapons, biological weapons may also be useful as area denial weapons. These agents may be lethal or non-lethal, and may be targeted against a single individual, a group of people, or even an entire population. They may be developed, acquired, stockpiled or deployed by nation states or by non-national groups. In the latter case, or if a nation-state uses it clandestinely, it may also be considered bioterrorism.

        There is an overlap between biological warfare and chemical warfare, as the use of toxins produced by living organisms is considered under the provisions of both theBiological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Toxins and Psychochemical weapons are often referred to as midspectrum agents. Unlike bioweapons, these midspectrum agents do not reproduce in their host and are typically characterized by shorter incubation periods.

        The world's population is growing at a fast rate, and there is an acute increase in the demand for food. Even at this stage, GM foods ensure to meet all the food needs. This technique makes the crops pest resistant, disease resistant, cold tolerant, herbicide tolerant, and drought tolerant/salinity tolerant. Also, in several countries people rely on just one crop, which becomes the staple crop of the region, like rice in India. Now rice is genetically engineered to contain additional vitamins and minerals ion order to alleviate nutrient deficiencies. For example, it is very common that people develop blindness due to lack of vitamin A, keeping this in mind researchers developed the "golden rice," containing an unusually high content of beta-carotene (vitamin A). During the growth of plants and trees, the main problem that remains is of soil and water pollution. Many popular trees are being genetically engineered to clean up heavy metal pollution from contaminated soil. So it is very much necessary to develop these kind of crops to fulfill food scarcity

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A CASE OF GUJRAT 03/02/2011
         A hitherto unknown virus with a high mortality rate that killed three people in the last 15 days in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) has been successfully identified by the city-based National Institute of Virology (NIV).The virus, Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), has a high mortality rate of 90%.

        NIV director, Dr AC Mishra, told DNA, “The virus that killed three people in the last 15 days has a mortality of 90%, which is tremendously high. A patient with this infection can go into coma in a span of three days after getting infected,’’ he added.

        Mishra said a team was sent to Ahmedabad to collect samples last week after Shelby Hospital there contacted the NIV in connection with three patients with similar clinical conditions who were not responding to treatment. Two of these patients succumbed to their illness.

        “Since two of the patients died, a sample was collected from the third (female) patient on Saturday and was examined in Pune on Sunday. Detailed reports of this virus being CCHF and its mortality rate were submitted to the Union and Gujarat governments on Monday. We were informed that the patient from whom the sample was collected succumbed on Tuesday,” he said.

        So far, six patients with similar symptoms have been admitted to the same hospital, he said. Fifty more samples from the patients have been collected for screening for CCHF at NIV. The younger brother of the (third) patient is currently critical and has been admitted with similar conditions.

        Mishra said CCHF is caused when tick-borne virus changes its clinical nature after being transferred from animals (cattle or rats) to humans.

        Compared to swine flu or Influenza-A H1N1, Mishra said that while H1N1 spreads quickly, but has a mortality of just 0.1%, CCHF has a mortality rate of 90% and the severity is high. Treatment is easy in H1N1, whereas due to the confused clinical picture, the treatment becomes very difficult in CCHF.