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Biowarfare, bioterrorism and biocrime: A historical overview on microbial harmful applications

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Manuela Oliveira, Gabriella Mason-Buck, David Ballard, Wojciech Branicki, António Amorim

Original languageEnglish
Article number110366
JournalForensic Science International
PublishedSep 2020

King's Authors


Microbial Forensics is a field that continues to grow in interest and application among the forensic community. This review, divided into two sections, covers several topics associated with this new field. The first section presents a historic overview concerning the use of microorganisms (or its product, i.e. toxins) as harmful biological agents in the context of biological warfare (biowarfare), bioterrorism, and biocrime. Each case is illustrated with the examination of case reports that span from prehistory to the present day. The second part of the manuscript is devoted to the role of MF and highlights the necessity to prepare for the pressing threat of the harmful use of biological agents as weapons. Preventative actions, developments within the field to ensure a timely and effective response and are discussed herein.

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