Natural or Deliberate Outbreak in Pakistan: How to Prevent or Detect and Trace its Origin: Biosecurity, Surveillance, Forensics

  • Zabta Khan Shinwari
  • Ali Talha Khalil
  • Anwar Nasim
Conference Proceedings


Over the last few decades biosecurity and biosafety have emerged as a prominent public health concern due to some high-profile accidents. Effective strategies to deal with the outbreak, whether deliberate or non-deliberate requires a multidisciplinary approach and coordinated decision-making by various state departments such as health, forensics, agriculture, environment, intelligence, law and enforcement, etc. In a dynamic global environment and the overwhelming asymmetric threats from the non-state actors, it is of utmost importance to understand the biosecurity issues and initiate a coordinated global effort to cope with biosecurity and biosafety breaches and develop an as effective response mechanism. An attractive choice for the terrorists, state enemies and non-state actors is the use of biological weapons. An unwanted incident may not only bring chaos to the people, but also can inflict severe economic damage industrially and locally as was in the notorious foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. Because of special geopolitical compulsion, Pakistan is one of the hot spots where special action needs to be taken. The current review focuses on the various approaches, technologies that can be used to alleviate the chances of biosafety and biosecurity incident and emphasizes the role of modern technology that can be used in this regard.


Biosecurity Biosafety Outbreak Biological weapon 



The authors are very thankful to their colleagues and seniors and fellows for their kind and humble support.


  1. Ahmad M (2011) Poultry consumption rises by 239 percent in 11 years. The news international, 04 Oct 2011. Available at
  2. Aldridge S (2009) Pakistan’s first biotech plant. Nat Biotechnol 27:788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alibek K, Handelman S (2000) Biohazard: the chilling true story of the largest covert biological weapons program in the world—told from the inside by the man who ran it. Random House, New York, p 36Google Scholar
  4. APHIS (1998) Animal and plant health inspection service, US department of agriculture. APHIS’ role in animal health and trade USDA APHIS Factsheet, August. 20 May 2002. Available at
  5. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (US) Staff (2002) Medical management of biological casualties handbook. Government printing office. United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland, p 135Google Scholar
  6. Atlas RM (1998) Biological weapons pose challenge for microbiology community. ASM News 64:383–388Google Scholar
  7. Atlas RM, Dando M (2006) The dual-use dilemma for the life sciences: perspectives, conundrums, and global solutions. Biosecur Bioterror 4:276–286PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barletta M (2002) Biosecurity measures for preventing bioterrorism. Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, pp 1–11Google Scholar
  9. Basit A (2001) Statement by Abdul Basit, Acting permanent representative, at the fifth review conference of the states parties to the convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacterial (biological) and toxin weapons and on their destruction, permanent mission of Pakistan to the United Nations, Genewa, 19 Nov 2001. Available at
  10. BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security) (1998) Bureau of export administration U.S. department of commerce “India and Pakistan Sanctions and Other Measures”, Federal Register, 19 Nov 1998, vol 63, no 223. Available at
  11. Blancou J, Pearson JE (2003) Bioterrorism and infectious animal diseases. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 26:431–443PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Borio L, Frank D, Mani V et al (2001) Death due to bioterrorism-related inhalational anthrax: report of 2 patients. JAMA 286:2554–2559PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Casagrande R (2000) Biological terrorism targeted at agriculture: the threat to US national security. Nonproliferation Rev 7:92–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cello J, Paul AV, Wimmer E (2002) Chemical synthesis of poliovirus cDNA: generation of infectious virus in the absence of natural template. Science 297:1016–1018PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Choffnes E (2002) Bioweapons: new labs, more terror? Bull At Sci 58:29–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Christopher GW, Cieslak TJ, Pavlin JA et al (1997) Biological warfare a historical perspective. JAMA 278:412–417PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clevestig P (2009) Handbook of applied biosecurity for life science laboratories. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), SwedenGoogle Scholar
  18. CNN (2002) Concerns over Kazakhstan Bio-theft Bid. Available at
  19. CSS Analysis in Security Policy (2007) Biological risks protection from pandemics and bioterrorism, vol 2, no 5Google Scholar
  20. Dudley JP, Woodford MH (2002) Bioweapons, bioterrorism and biodiversity: potential impacts of biological weapons attacks on agricultural and biological diversity. Rev Sci Tech 21:125–137PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Ebright RH, Connell ND (2002) Bioweapon agents: more access means more risk. Nature 415:364PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Economic Survey 2009–2010, (Agricultural sector) Ministry of Finance. Available at Accessed at 24 April 2013
  23. Elbers A, Knutsson R (2013) Agroterrorism targeting livestock: a review with a focus on early detection systems. Biosecur Bioterror 11(Suppl 1):S25–S35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Enserink M (2000) Malaysian researchers trace Nipah virus outbreak to bats. Science 289:518–519PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fidler DP, Gostin LO (2008) Biosecurity in the global age: biological weapons, public health, and the rule of law. Stanford University Press, Stanford, p 41Google Scholar
  26. Gewin V (2003) Bioterrorism: agriculture shock. Nature 421:106–108PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gilbert N (2013) A hard look at GM crops. Nature 497:24–26PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Goodwin SB, Cohen BA, Deahl KL et al (1994) Migration from northern Mexico as the probable cause of recent genetic changes in populations of Phytophthora infestans in the United States and Canada. Phytopathology 84:553–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harris SH (2002) Factories of death: Japanese biological warfare, 1932–1945, and the American cover-up. Routledge, New York, p 320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hart J (2006) The Soviet biological weapons program. In: Wheelis M (ed) Deadly cultures: biological weapons since 1945. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 132–156Google Scholar
  31. Hathaway SC (1993) Risk assessment procedures used by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and its subsidiary and advisory bodies. Food Control 4:189–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hawley RJ, Eitzen EM Jr (2001) Biological weapons—a primer for microbiologists. Annu Rev Microbiol 55:235–253PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hedrick RP (1996) Movement of pathogens with the international trade of live fish: problems and solutions. Rev Sci Tech 15:523–531PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Henderson DA (1999) The looming threat of bioterrorism. Science 283:1279–1282PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hill BJ (2000) International trade in farmed fish and shellfish: the impact of disease spread. Safeguarding animal health in global trade moderators: Thierman A, Moenig M. Online Conference on Sustainable Agricultural Production. Braunschweig, Germany: Federal Agricultural Research Centre, FAL. Available at
  36. Horn FP (1999) Statement by Floyd P. Horn, Ph.D., Administrator, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture before the United States Senate Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, 27 Oct 1999. Available at.
  37. Huxsoll DL, Patrick WC 3rd, Parrott CD (1988) Veterinary services in biological disasters. J Am Vet Med Assoc 190:714–722Google Scholar
  38. IAEA Information Circular (2004) Pakistan’s national legislation entitled: “Export Control on Goods, Technologies, Material and Equipment related to Nuclear and Biological Weapons and their Delivery Systems Act, 2004”Google Scholar
  39. Ibrahim M, Ahmad N, Bano A et al (2013a) Allelopathic assessment of genetically modified and non modified maize (Zea mays L.) on physiology of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Pak J Bot 45:235–240Google Scholar
  40. Ibrahim M, Ahmad N, Ullah F (2013b) Comparative impact of genetically modified and non modified maize (Z. mays L.) on succeeding crop and associated weed. Toxicol Ind Health. doi: 10.1177/0748233713505125
  41. Jackson RJ, Ramsay AJ, Christensen CD et al (2001) Expression of mouse interleukin-4 by a recombinant ectromelia virus suppresses cytolytic lymphocyte responses and overcomes genetic resistance to mousepox. J Virol 75:1205–1210PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. James C (2009) Global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops (No. 41). ISAAA, Ithaca, NYGoogle Scholar
  43. Jane’s CBRN Assessments 20 March (2012) Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration, “India and Pakistan: Lifting of Sanctions, Removal of Indian and Pakistani Entities, and Revision in License Review Policy; Final Rule” Federal Register, vol. 66, no. 190, 1 Oct 2001.; “Proliferation (Pakistan), Biological”. Available at
  44. Khan MA (2007) Disaster preparedness for natural hazards: Current status in Pakistan. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Kathmandu Nepal, pp XVIIGoogle Scholar
  45. Livingstone NC, Douglass JD (1984) CBW, the poor man’s atomic bomb. Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  46. Makoni N, Mohamed-Katerere J, Chenje M (2006) Africa environment outlook 2: Our environment, our wealth, In section 3; emerging trends, chapter 9; genetically modified crops. Published by Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA), United Nation Environment Program (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya, pp 300–329Google Scholar
  47. Maman M, Yehezkelli Y (2009) Ricin: a possible, noninfectious biological weapon. Bioterrorism and infectious agents: a new dilemma for the 21st century. Springer, New York, pp 205–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Manning L, Baines RN, Chadd SA (2005) Deliberate contamination of the food supply chain. Br Food J 107:225–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. National Research Council (2004) Biotechnology research in an age of terrorism. National Academies Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  50. Nature (2012) Life sciences, Survivors of the 2010 University of Alabama shooting chose not to push for the death penalty. 490(6). doi: 10.1038/490006a Available at
  51. Nestle M (2003) Safe food: bacteria, biotechnology, and bioterrorism. University of California Press, BerkelyGoogle Scholar
  52. Pakistan Economic Survey (2012–2013) Chapter 12, population, labour, force and employment, pp 155Google Scholar
  53. Pakistan Vision 2030 (2007) Planning Commission Government of Pakistan. Available at
  54. Panel E (2005) Sounding the alarm on global stem rust: an assessment of race Ug99 in Kenya and Ethiopia and the potential for impact on neighboring regions and beyond. Expert Panel on the Stem Rust Outbreak in Eastern Africa. CIMMYT, MexicoGoogle Scholar
  55. Parker B (2014) The physics of war: from arrows to atoms. Prometheus Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  56. Pearson JE (2000) Biological agents as potential weapons against animals. Biological warfare technical brief, 16 June 2000. Office international des epizooties (OIE), Paris, p 3Google Scholar
  57. Peeler EJ, Gardiner R, Thrush MA (2004) Qualitative risk assessment of routes of transmission of the exotic fish parasite Gyrodactylus salaries between river catchments in England and Wales. Prev Vet Med 64:175–189PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rappert B (2010) Education and ethics in the life sciences: strengthening the prohibition of biological weapons. Australian National University E Press, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  59. Regalado A, Fields G (2002) Tests suggests deadly anthrax came from Military supplies. Wall Street Journal, 10 May 2002Google Scholar
  60. Riedel S (2004) Biological warfare and bioterrorism: a historical review. Proceedings (Baylor University, Medical Center) vol 17, pp 400–406Google Scholar
  61. Roberts A, Nazli H, Wach M et al (2013) An analysis of the development and regulation of agricultural biotechnology in Pakistan. Proceedings of the workshop on biosafety research in Pakistan grants program workshop, December 13th 2013, COMSATS Islamabad, p 12Google Scholar
  62. Selgelid MJ (2010) Ethics engagement of the dual use dilemma: progress and potential. In: Rappert B (ed) Education and ethics in the life sciences: strengthening the prohibition of biological weapons. Australian National University E Press, Canberra, pp 23–34Google Scholar
  63. Shea DA, Gottron F (2010) Ricin: technical background and potential role in terrorism. Library of Congress, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  64. Tabassum S, Anwar Z, Khattak JZ et al (2012) The future of biotechnology in Pakistan. J Asian Sci Res 2:518–523Google Scholar
  65. The Nation (2013b) 24 Sept 2013, Statement by Syed Yawar Ali Chairman Pakistan dairy association. Available at Accessed 5 Oct 2013
  66. Tumpey TM, Basler CF, Aguilar PV et al (2005) Characterization of the reconstructed 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic virus. Science 310:77–80PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. United Nations (2004) Available at Accessed 14 Jan 2014
  68. USDA (2004) Karnal Bunt: a fungal disease of wheat. USDA APHIS plant protection and quarantine factsheet March. Available at
  69. Van Tuyll M (2013) Dealing with future risks in the Netherlands. Biosecur Bioterror 11(suppl 1):S55–S63PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Waage JK, Mumford JD (2008) Agricultural biosecurity. Phil Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 363:863–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Whiting TL (2003) Foreign animal disease outbreaks, the animal welfare implications for Canada: risks apparent from international experience. Can Vet J 44:805–815PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Wilson TM, Logan-Henfrey L, Weller R et al (2000) Agroterrorism, biological crimes, and biological warfare targeting animal agriculture. In: Brown C, Bolin C (eds) Emerging diseases of animals. ASM Press, Washington, DC, pp 23–57Google Scholar
  73. World Health Organization (2002) Terrorist threats to food: guidance for establishing and strengthening prevention and response systems. World Health Organization, Department of Food SafetyGoogle Scholar
  74. World Health Organization (2006) Biorisk management: Laboratory biosecurity guidance. (WHO, Geneva, September 2006), pp 6–8, Available at
  75. Zilinskas RA (1997) Iraq’s biological weapons: the past as future? JAMA 278:418–424PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Zilinskas RA, Carus WS (2000) Possible terrorist use of modern biotechnology techniques. In: Martinelli M (ed) Biosecurity and bioterrorism. Landau Network Centro Volta, Como, pp 43–56Google Scholar

Internet References

  1. Otis C. Maloy, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA. Accessed 5 Dec 2013

Copyright information

© L. Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Wroclaw, Poland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zabta Khan Shinwari
    • 1
  • Ali Talha Khalil
    • 1
  • Anwar Nasim
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyQuaid i Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Pakistan Academy of SciencesIslamabadPakistan

Personalised recommendations