Photos courtesy of Engineering Animation, Inc.
BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE: Among the tools to counter effects from biological weapons, bioengineered red blood cells (above) can patrol the circulatory system, sponging up viral particles and carrying them to the liver for destruction. Synthetic macromolecules, or dendrimers (right), can capture viral particles and prevent further viral destruction of healthy cells.
Biological weapons have been around since medieval warriors hurled plague-ridden corpses over city walls to destroy their populations. Today what was once called "germ warfare" is even more threatening because of the ability to genetically alter pathogens. Recent events in the Persian Gulf and the United States have riveted attention on the "weaponization" of bacteria, viruses, and toxins. "Every time something happens with Saddam Hussein or there is a potential terrorist incident, it's a reminder that we aren't in a position to defend ourselves. So government, academia, and private industry are building defenses against...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?