News FocusBIOLOGICAL WEAPONS

Arms Control Enters the Biology Lab

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Science  03 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5373, pp. 29-30
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5373.29

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Summary

Revelations about the extent of the former Soviet Union's biological weapons program and recent discoveries by United Nations inspectors of Iraq's widespread efforts have led both the European Union and the Clinton Administration to push for a compliance protocol to be negotiated for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) by the end of this year. Negotiations resumed last week in Geneva to finally put some teeth into the BTWC, an arms control agreement that currently has no mechanism to check whether signatories are complying. The compliance protocol will likely require some biotech firms and academic microbiologists to file reports detailing the materials they possess and submit to regular inspections.