(NationalSentinel) While intelligence agencies and Homeland Security officials worry more about terrorist attacks involving everything from large trucks to nuclear bombs, scientists say they fear something even worse: That a terrorist group could develop a deadly plague-like bacteriaÂ and unleash it to kill millions of people.
As reported by the UK’sÂ The Sun, the threat is very real, notÂ something of thriller movie scripts:
LeadingÂ scientists are frantically working to develop a vaccine for the PLAGUE amid fears terrorists could kill millions if they weaponized the deadly bacteria.
The Medieval disease famously wiped out one third of Europeâ€™s population in the 13th and 14th centuries in one of the most devastating pandemics in human history now known as the Black Death.
Today the disease â€“ which has a 90 to 100 per cent mortality rate â€“ has been classed by the World Health Organisation as a â€œre-emerging human pathogenâ€.
Dr Ashok Chopra, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas, is leading studies he hopes will develop a vaccine to counter all three strains.
Counterterrorism experts have long believed that terrorists could develop a bio-weapon to kill people directly, or indirectly–by placing pathogens in drinking water or on crops.
“A lot of food processing manufacturers don’t practice rigid biosecurity,” saidÂ Peter Chalk,Â a terrorism analyst with the Rand Corp., a policy think tank, in an interview withÂ NPR in March 2014. Chalk published a white paper examining agricultural terrorism in 2001.
Chopra toldÂ The Sun that there is a very high likelihood that a bacteria could be developed and used to kill millions.
â€œWe are specifically looking at pneumonic plague because the mortality rate associated with pneumonic plague is very high â€“ almost 100 percent,” he said.
â€œIf terrorists use those organisms â€“ they could utilise the bacteria.Â It could lead to mass deaths in a very short period of time. It would spread very, very quickly,” he added.
â€œThink about the bubonic plague in Europe in the 13th, 14th century. One third of the population was wiped out because of infection. Thatâ€™s the typical scenario that you should think of,” said Chopra. “At the time it started with the bubonic plague and then it went to the pnuemonic plague and one third of the population died so the consequences could be enormous.â€