John Smith sendnoemail at futurex.com
Thu Oct 15 17:52:39 EST 1998

Nicholas Landau wrote>...
> ....There are diseases,
> such as rabies (which is viral) which will always kill the
> host, unless treated promptly.  HIV kills virtually 100% of those
> infected, whether or not treatment is received.
So perhaps by splicing components of 
rabies and HIV into the Smallpox genome
a more dangerous virus could be made.
The Russians have probably done 
something like this already.

> The answer to the second is probably not.  People are so numerous
> and so widespread that it would require a herculean effort to expose
> every last human to some infectious agent.
Humans are also very social, live in
huge unnatural cities, travel by airplanes
and cars, and prolong the lives of the
contagiously infected in hospitals, where the 
disease can be further spread.
> In the end, humanity has weathered many a devastating plague, but
> we are still here.  

Thousands of other species have become
extinct however- and the reasons for
most of these extinctions is quite unknown.
> It could be argued that humanity has never
> weathered a plague specifically engineered to cause us to become
> extinct [..]  I would counter that, if the ability to fight using
> disease has improved, so has humanity's ability to fight disease
> itself.
> I have heard the figure 60 million bandied about as the number of
> casualties which could be inflicted on the US in one month by a
> well-coordinated germ attack (an old roommate's father who retired
> from Ft. Deitrich some years ag.)o  That is a lot of people to
> be sickened or killed, but it is less than a well-coordinated
> thermonuclear offensive would kill.
> Grim grim grim.  What is the defense from such things?
Stockpiles of antibodies and antibiotics
specific for the potential bioweapons are 
likely to be created as we prepare for an
era of bioterrorism, but perhaps the only real
defense is the same one used to protect us
from nuclear weapons- Mutually Assured 
Destruction capability. MAD perhaps, but
it has worked.

-John Smith

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