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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Prions - Secret Biological Weapon Evolves

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    Posted: April 20 2018 at 2:15pm
https://www.quora.com/Could-prions-be-used-as-a-biological-weapon

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Yes, they are the perfect bioweapon. Long incubation times, nearly impossible to destroy (easier to toss out surgical equipment of infected material), universally fatal, passed to offspring, etc. Mass Transmission could easily be accomplished through infecting the vaccine supply, it would be nearly impossible to detect, impossible to protect against, and the patients die in prime earning years. You could easily collapse any western state by establishing a medical equipment supplier and inserting said prions into syringes, it would take a decade or longer before you were caught, at which time it is too late to stop.

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0101-20612014000300001

Recombinant Prions with fatal features could be developed in relatively simple laboratories using animals such as rats, mice, and monkeys (Supattapone, 2010; Wang et al., 2010; Legname et al., 2004; Makarava et al., 2010). Ricin has already been used as a weapon (Augerson, 2000; National Security Notes, 2004), for example in the case that caught the full attention of international media and was described by Papaloucas et al (2008) and which was about a political dissident that was killed by a supposed KGB agent using a single ricin-tipped umbrella as a weapon. Consequently, the same mechanism can be used to deliver Prions using simple objects without giving the victim a chance to receive a vaccine, treatment, or a specific anti-serum injection. Some political enemies must be eliminated and Prions can be a possible alternative to the use of venoms, precisely because Prions do not kill instantly and make the investigation process very difficult to trace the assassin agent. Another class of venom that have been used before and can be substituted by Prions are the radioactive venom (Jordan & Finn, 2006) because Prions can cause the same effect. One advantage is leaving no traces detectable by anti-gama radiation equipment, such as Geiger counter, and another advantage is being less dangerous to the assassin agent willing to use it.

The psychological effect caused by the use of Prions to extinguish rivals could be as powerful as the radioactive effects, and it can send a strong message such as "Do not play with the government interests". The use of such weapons seems to have strong personal issues involved because it would be easier to kill someone simply using a gun, but with Prions, the victim agonizes for months before dying (Papaloucas et al., 2008). The most frightening possibility would be the use of Prions to get rid of enemies in large regions of ongoing conflicts or political separatist wars. In theory, it would not raise any suspicion by the international community because of its silence mechanisms, but after years a lot of people would start dying presenting the same symptoms and the alert would have come too late. If Prions are made in laboratories with the purpose to be spread in the air, it could kill a large number of people since it has been demonstrated that CWD can be dispersed as aerosol (Denkers et al., 2010; Haybaeck et al., 2011; Ford et al., 2002). In addition, the decontamination of the environment can be a huge problem if Prions are not rapidly degraded in the soil by microorganisms; some studies have demonstrated that the soil is as possible reservoir of scrapie and CWD agents, which can persist in the environment for years. Attachment to soil particles likely influences the persistence and infectivity of Prions in the environment (Smith et al., 2011; Gough & Maddison, 2010; Saunders et al., 2009).

comment: It is not relevant as to whether prions are currently transmittable from person to person. One area of research would be modifying current forms - they are not viruses and far worse in some ways - so they could be airborne.

An effective air delivery system or contamination of a widely distributed canned or especially meat products could infect millions of people.

Research on this has been done and the most serious concern would be this technology developed by rogue states who at the same time they are talking peace i.e. Kim Jong-un - they are setting up ways to infect people. It would be very hard to trace and currently there are few effective cures.

https://www.ed.ac.uk/medicine-vet-medicine/news-events/college-events/inaugural-lecture/prions-ninja-pathogens-and-immune-system-hijackers

Prion diseases are a unique group of brain diseases in animals and humans which cause extensive damage to nerve cells in the brain, to which there is currently no effective treatment or cure.  Some prion diseases can be transmitted to other animals through consumption of contaminated food.  For example, food contaminated with BSE prions from cattle was responsible for the prion disease variant CJD in humans. 

Soon after infection the prions first accumulate in tissues of the body’s immune system such as the spleen, lymph nodes and tonsils, before spreading to the brain where the disease they cause destroys nerve cells.

comment: The mainstream media does not effectively cover information on this. Over years I have researched what our greatest vulnerability from a terror attack is - and it is from an engineered biological weapon for which we have no effective vaccine or treatment.


It is highly unlikely we are going to see missiles launched with long periods of waiting and the ability to be intercepted when a few well placed infected people or contamination of food or water could take out millions.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 20 2018 at 3:53pm
I don't know that anyone is experimenting.  I do know that one's own experiments can come back to haunt you.

All in all, I can't think of a scarier experimetal subject.  This time I agree that the sky is falling - and it is heavy.  Superbugs have new and bottom drawer antibiotics.  Viruses have phages, antivirals and immune systems.  Fungi have fungicides.  Even parasitic worms have anthielmintics


Does anyone know of a cure that will work on prions?  NOPE!  This is the scariest yet!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2018 at 9:39am
Thanks for the information! 

My biowarfare training dates back to 1979, when the US was concerned about "germ warfare" from the USSR.  The early thinking was that a biowarfare agent HAD to have a vaccine to prevent "blowback" to the attacking country. 

This thinking has changed thanks to the emergence of "doomsday cults" and other groups like Al Qaeda who may be willing to absorb high casualties in an attack upon its enemies.  

Prion weapons would be most suited to this type of adversary, but their drawback is that they have a LONG incubation period, are not uniformly fatal, and would be difficult to deliver.  Also, they don't have any treatment nor vaccine, so they could spread unchecked. 

I'm not terribly concerned about weaponized prions, although these are certainly possible.  Other weapons available to adversaries would include smallpox or engineered pox virus (monkeypox, horse pox etc.), influenza (as in Stephen King's "The Stand"), and conventional bioweapons including anthrax. 

Weapons not often mentioned include tularemia (very low infectious dose), botulinum toxin (devastating if introduced into the food supply), and other Category A bioweapons: 


Prions would probably score very high on the "terror" aspect, and would have very high propaganda value.  "We have contaminated your food supply with Mad Cow prions" would be chilling for trade; I lived in the UK during the "Mad Cow Disease cull" and saw how British beef sales plunged due to international fear of these agents.  Sometimes, the best agent is not the most deadly, but the scariest to the target population. 

Good discussion!  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Medclinician Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 22 2018 at 10:05am
Originally posted by CRS, DrPH CRS, DrPH wrote:

Thanks for the information! 

My biowarfare training dates back to 1979, when the US was concerned about "germ warfare" from the USSR.  The early thinking was that a biowarfare agent HAD to have a vaccine to prevent "blowback" to the attacking country. 

This thinking has changed thanks to the emergence of "doomsday cults" and other groups like Al Qaeda who may be willing to absorb high casualties in an attack upon its enemies.  

Prion weapons would be most suited to this type of adversary, but their drawback is that they have a LONG incubation period, are not uniformly fatal, and would be difficult to deliver.  Also, they don't have any treatment nor vaccine, so they could spread unchecked. 

I'm not terribly concerned about weaponized prions, although these are certainly possible.  Other weapons available to adversaries would include smallpox or engineered pox virus (monkeypox, horse pox etc.), influenza (as in Stephen King's "The Stand"), and conventional bioweapons including anthrax. 

Weapons not often mentioned include tularemia (very low infectious dose), botulinum toxin (devastating if introduced into the food supply), and other Category A bioweapons: 


Prions would probably score very high on the "terror" aspect, and would have very high propaganda value.  "We have contaminated your food supply with Mad Cow prions" would be chilling for trade; I lived in the UK during the "Mad Cow Disease cull" and saw how British beef sales plunged due to international fear of these agents.  Sometimes, the best agent is not the most deadly, but the scariest to the target population. 

Good discussion!  




I think it will be.  We have come into a time when terrorists are will to wait.  Like sleeper cells who get a job and do nothing for 5 years - the over all strategy in some ways it to break the economy which would effectively destroy America.  Another consideration is that prions may have a longer incubation period now - but we have technology and ways to do a lot of things. If that would be sped up - then they would be a problem. 

I know that 24 hours had a show where they used prions and I also wrote about it in my book.  One important insidious thing by terrorists would be how hard it would be to track who did it and effectively nuke them.  Prions are still not well understood. People are working on this. I can find more on it - that leaks into the searchable Internet.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Medclinician Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2018 at 5:28am
http://www.businessinsider.com/chronic-wasting-disease-zombie-deer-risk-for-humans-study-2018-1

There may be an outbreak of some sort of Prion disease in the U.S. and it almost impossible to track it. It is only a matter of time until this becomes a problem for humans and it definitely could be weaponized and used as a weapon of mass destruction.

Our mainstream media completely lacks any coverage of our current health crisis in the United States. I wrote a book which includes the scenario for an outbreak of a Prion type disease which pretty much wipes out most of the population globally.

I am -  I believe - one of the only people on the planet really tracking this and I am concerned.

  • Chronic wasting disease was discovered in the 1950s when researchers observed deer in Colorado behaving like zombies, staggering around blindly as they starved to death.
  • The disease, caused by the spread of proteins called prions, has since been reported in Canada and some US states, including Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • No human has caught the disease, but a recent study suggests it could get into a person's brain if they were to eat meat from an infected animal.


When a deer becomes infected with chronic wasting disease, it can take up to two years before signs of the illness become visible.

At some point, the animal will lose weight, stop interacting with other deer, and lose its fear of humans, and it may start drinking and salivating more. It winds up staring vacantly as it starves to death, which is why the illness is also known as "zombie deer" disease.

As far as we know, though, no human has ever been infected with the disease, caused by the spread of misfolded proteins called prions.

But Canadian researchers have recently expressed concerns that the disease could infect people who eat deer, elk, moose, or others that carry the proteins.

Mark Zabel, an immunologist at Colorado State University, told Colorado Public Radio that because chronic wasting disease is still a newly discovered condition, it may evolve rapidly — "which leads us to believe that it's only a matter of time before a CWD prion emerges that can do the same thing and infect a human."

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As of January, there were 186 counties in 22 states that reported the disease in animals like deer and elk. CDC





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