HomeOpinionBiodefence: Part Three. . . biological agents know no boundaries

Biodefence: Part Three. . . biological agents know no boundaries

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By Mupakamiso Makaya and Tapiwa Bere


BIOWARFARE and bioterrorism are un-distinguishable proliferation problems which raise more questions than answers. What is biological weapons proliferation?
What is biological weapons count-er-proliferation?
What is a biological counter-prolifera-tion programme?
What are regional biological count-er-proliferation, regional biothreats and regional bio incidences?
These are some of the inquiries that were made by our readers.
Counter-proliferation generally refers to the principle of precluding the spread of biological munitions as well as the bio-logical items and constituents that can aid in their growth.
In disparity to non-proliferation, which focuses on diplomatic, legal and adminis-trative measures to dissuade and impede the acquisition of such weapons, count-er-proliferation focuses on foresight, law enforcement and sometimes co-ordinated hard or soft action to prevent their acqui-sition. Regional biothreats are micro-or-ganisms and toxins, among others, that can inflict great harm on a human popula-tion at an identified regional level.
The Counter-Proliferation Schema sup-ports these goals by strengthening major treaties, conventions and regimes that seek to counter the proliferation of mu-nitions and increase States’ adherence to them. It also works to strengthen muni-tions controls and unsettle illicit attempts to avoid them.
It is proposed that regional biological counter-proliferation as enunciated by these treatises herein (publication) is to be the first African Biological Counter-Prolif-eration Strategy to include naturally oc-curring biological threats at an inter-State biological level.
‘Natural’ outbreaks, as illustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, pose enormous haz-ards; infectious disease threats can imper-il lives while also disrupting economies, trade and travel. Outbreaks anywhere in the world can quickly spread via interna-tional channels.
The proposed regional biological plan is intended to work bilaterally with WHO on several issues linked to mitigating the impact of purposeful biological agent release.

Biological agents have killed more people than any other cause in the SADC region, thus a deliberate programme of Cooper-ation on Preparedness and Response to Biological Agent Attacks is a must, with the overall aim of co-ordinating and sup-porting public health and health security preparedness as well as the response ca-pacity and planning of the member-States against attacks from biological and chem-ical agents.
Cheer up citizens of SADC, our es-teemed leadership already has an insti-tutional framework; which institutional framework includes: The Health Sector Co-ordinating Unit (HSCU), Health Sec-tor Committee of Ministers (HSCM), Health Sector Committee of Senior Offi-cials (HSCSO) and Technical Sub-committee.
It is, therefore, submitted herein that the SADC Protocol on Health incorporates a biodefence strategy and plan to align the protocols with neo-biological challenges.
SADC countries face cumulative biolog-ical threats from actors of concern, some of whom have, on many occasions, de-clared their hostilities by passing legisla-tion against members of the regional bloc, thus weaponising biological agents is, by default, a regional security threat.


Every regional bloc in Africa needs to develop counter-proliferation capabilities; we are living in evil days, with evil people weaponising biological agents to achieve their despicable intents.
The need for the SADC biological count-er-proliferation initiative is now — the Second Republic has demonstrated the political will already by coming up with the Biowarfare Bill, in the same vein we should be moving to achieve the same at the regional and continental levels.


The discovery of bio labs in Ukraine is testimony that biological proliferators are among us. It is, therefore, imperative that SADC’s primary focus be on keeping bio-technology and sensitive technology capa-bilities out of off-beam hands, to destroy completely biological weapons capabili-ties should biological proliferation occur and to be able to fight militarily in the bio attack environment as well as mitigate the consequences of such an attack.
Evolution and dynamics of diseases and other persistent strange biological mani-festations also led to the rationale behind the proposed regional biological weapons counter-proliferation stance in SADC.

passive biodefence stance to a robust one because the threat is real — real threats are dealt with by concrete actions.
Potential and actual regional aggressors should be countered.
We submit that non-proliferation has failed to prevent biological munitions pro-liferation, the answer to counter the pro-liferation madness is regional biological counter-proliferation.
The earnestness motivating the scribes of this article stems from dualistic princi-pal assumptions: nefarious use of biologi-cal agents has and will continue to be used against us with perpetrators hiding under the banner of naturally occurring diseases.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the importance of being prepared to fight biological agents, whether naturally oc-curring, deliberate or accidental.
Come what may, it is not a secret that adversaries will continue to develop their biological capabilities, deception and de-nial efforts.
Information exists brothers and sisters, that as a region we are under attack from bio-engineered diseases, some of the in-formation is fragmented but not mislead-ing we can assure you.
SADC countries should regulate im-ports, particularly in light of the current El Nino-induced drought — bioterrorists are in the trenches waiting to exploit such moments.
SADC leaders should provide a biolog-ical policy and strategic plan for mem-ber-countries and agencies under their jurisdiction to guarantee a unified effort in the fight against the proliferation of bi-ological agents being used for reprehensi-ble intent.
The miscellany of biological threat ac-tors and the emergence of novel biologi-cal threats (non-traditional agents) have created challenges for the SADC region, in particular, and Africa, in general.
One thing known by actors of concern is that, as the world becomes more net-worked, viruses have the potential to spread and pose a threat anywhere. Infec-tious pathogens travel without visas and cross borders arbitrarily; they also know that diseases that harm one component can swiftly spread to others, emphasising the interdependence of human, animal, plant and environmental health.

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