Prions: the danger of biochemical weapons
Xavier, Eric Almeida [UNIFESP]
Is part ofFood Science and Technology (Campinas)
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The knowledge of biotechnology increases the risk of using biochemical weapons for mass destruction. Prions are unprecedented infectious pathogens that cause a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases by a novel mechanism. They are transmissible particles that are devoid of nucleic acid. Due to their singular characteristics, Prions emerge as potential danger since they can be used in the development of such weapons. Prions cause fatal infectious diseases, and to date there is no therapeutic or prophylactic approach against these diseases. Furthermore, Prions are resistant to food-preparation treatments such as high heat and can find their way from the digestive system into the nervous system; recombinant Prions are infectious either bound to soil particles or in aerosols. Therefore, lethal Prions can be developed by malicious researchers who could use it to attack political enemies since such weapons cause diseases that could be above suspicion.
CitationFood Science and Technology (Campinas). Sociedade Brasileira de Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos, v. 34, n. 3, p. 433-440, 2014.
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