The Ebola virus could be weaponized to kill thousands of people in Britain, UK germ warfare experts have warned.
According to an investigation carried out at the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire, there are three scenarios in which the virus could be weaponized for use in the UK, British media reports.
The study was conducted following a request by the government for guidance on “the feasibility and potential impact of a non-state actor exploiting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for bioterrorism,” The Mirror reported on Saturday.
Following the assessment which was carried out last October, the British government called for the screening of passengers at Heathrow airport.
The results of the study have emerged in a redacted version edited by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and show it would difficult for Ebola to be weaponized by terrorists without the backing of a government, implying the possibility of the bioterrorist act.
“This scenario would be logistically and … technically challenging for a non-state group,” read part of the redacted document about the first scenario.
“There are practical issues with such a scenario that of themselves are often not insurmountable but taken together add enormously to the complexity of successfully undertaking this attack,” The Mirror excerpted in relation to the second scenario.
Regarding the third scenario the report said it would be very technically challenging.
The report was redacted by the MoD because it “contains details whose disclosure would prejudice the capability and effectiveness of our forces and safety of UK citizens.”
Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever, whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces, or sweat. It can be also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
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