Canada’s military intelligence arm has warned the government that avian influenza could be used as a weapon of bioterrorism, it is reported here Tuesday.
A report, entitled Recent Human Outbreaks of Avian Influenza and Potential Biological Warfare Implications, reveals that military planners believe a naturally occurring flu pandemic may be imminent.
The report, dated Dec. 8, 2004, outlines in broad terms the methods that could be used to develop a manmade strain of influenza capable of triggering a human flu pandemic.
It notes a method called “passaging,” while not entirely predictable, could be a “potentially highly effective” way to pusha virus to develop virulence.
“Such forced antigenic shifts could be attempted in a biological weapons program,” says the 15-page report.