The terror of Corona-virus has left the people in distraught and the activities of daily life are at standstill. Different conspiracy theories are rounding on the social media. China leveled allegations against the USA for bringing this deadly virus to China. On the other hand, some skeptics maintain that this virus is made by China to hit USA. Before addressing the question, is this a biological war or not?  We have to focus on a brief history of bio-attacks, types of viruses and signs of viral attack?  

Firstly, we shed a light on the brief history of biological-attacks. The Viral war agents can be taken as serious peril to the modern civilization. In 16th Century, a Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro presented viriola-contaminated clothes as gift to the natives of South America that paved the way for dissemination of smallpox epidemic. After that in Indo-French war (1745-67) the commander of British Army Sir Jeffery Amherst approved the use of smallpox as a biological weapon against those Americans who were hostile towards British forces.

Astonishingly, Viral agents remain the part of US and Soviet Union (now Russia)’s store of biological arsenals. A terrible pathogen namely “Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE)” stocked by the both countries. Furthermore, lethal viruses like “Marburg” and “Variola major” were stockpiled by the Soviet Union. In 1959, accidently, vial of freeze-dried VEE dropped by one of the soviet medical personnel that infected almost 20 members of laboratory. Countries keep testing the effectiveness of viruses. In 1970s, a 400g of variola virus was released by the Soviet Union for testing its efficacy in an island (Voz-rozhdeniye). The virus proved to be productive as it infected a laboratory technician who was 15km away from the releasing place. Then, technician transmitted it to some other people and they all were died.

Similarly, in 1992, a religious group “Aum Shinrikyo” in Japan was found to be planning an Elbola Virus attack and for this purpose 16 doctors and nurses was sent to Zaire (Congo) for acquiring samples and knowledge about the virus. Interestingly, these virus are not only prepared to hurt humans but for animals also. In 1997, a dangerous virus namely “Calicivirus” was made by some farmers of New Zealand to perish the wild rabbits in south island. A succinct glance at the history of viruses shows that viruses are made and used as a mean of warfare.

Secondly, we see the types of viruses which could be used as the agents of war. Various viruses like Filoviruses (Ebola, Marburg virus and yellow fever virus), Orthopox viruses (Variola virus), Flavivirus (Dengue, Japanese encephalitis virus, Tick-borne encephalitis), Nipah virus and Rift Valley fever are used for bioterrorism. Some of these viruses have already used by different countries such as Yellow fever virus (which belongs to the Flavivirus family) used by North Korea.

Thirdly, some of the important signs of viral attack are following:

1)     A sudden rise of an epidemic with high mortality rate.

2)     Dissemination of epidemic by food, aerosols and water sources

3)     Epidemic arises out of unidentifiable pathogen that doesn’t have any clinical history before.

4)     Unexpected illness

5)     Flu-like symptoms

6)     Issue in respiratory system as lungs disorder

7)     Skin infection

These symptoms are noticed in bio-attacks. Astoundingly, most of the above mentioned symptoms are noticed in Corona-virus cases such as sudden rise, unavailability of clinical history, unexpected illness and most importantly respiratory issue. Three questions have been addressed that biological viruses are made and used, they belong to different families of viruses and they have some specific signs. Bearing in mind the above mentioned realities, the possibilities of biological war can never be overlooked.

Now question arises, who commenced this war US or China?  

Firstly, the virus originated from Wuhan. If we take the china’s claim of USA intervention, it doesn’t sound well because if USA brought virus to China, then USA must have an antidote to avert the economic and human challenges. If we focus on second theory that China made this virus, this carries weight. China reported 81,620 cases in which 3,322 died and 76,571 recovered. This is highest ratio of recovered patients till now. Although, Virus badly hit China’s economy, it is recovering confidently as Dr Qian Wang (Managing director and chief economist at vanguard investment strategy group) mentions in her article “China’s economy is recovering from corona-virus but don’t expect it to save global economy”. She further advices not to expect global economic recovery by china.

Secondly, on one hand, china’s extension of health facilities to virus-hit countries casting its image as emerging leader with strong leadership but on the other hand virus has exposed the bewilderment of liberal democracies.

Thirdly, It is also palpable that virus has left USA’s dominant liberal economic system in tatters. Francis Fukuyama in his book “Identity: the demand for dignity and the politics of resentment” takes the great recession in 2008 as a blow to liberal order. Currently, Corona-virus crisis seems another dent to liberal order. Some analysts perceive the Corona-virus crisis as bigger than great depression, because in great depression the unemployment rate in US was 25% but now in second quarter of year this has soared to 40%. USA is suffering more than China. USA’s airlines are affecting more than China as the ratio of US passengers was higher than China. The sports’ business in USA is 10 times more than china that is further adding to sufferings. Fourthly, corona-virus cases in USA have surpassed the Spain and Italy. Most of the major European powers and USA are worst hit by virus.  Gone are the days, when USA initiated Marshall Plan to support the war-torn economies. Corona-virus has left USA to ponder over the initiation of a plan for the survival of liberal order. The cataclysmic impacts on USA’s economy and its poor handling of the crisis overshadow the possibility of USA’s involvement in biological war. So, the possibility of china’s involvement carries weight.

Another Question arises, is virus deliberately released? I think no, because China is unlikely to commence biological war as it can harm its economic interests in the world. According to IMF, China produced $25.3 trillion in 2018 and became the world’s largest economy. This estimate shows sprawling economic influence of China. Why china would prefer to shoot herself in the foot by releasing virus?  This virus is said to be spread by bats and bats possess 20 to 400 types of corona-viruses. Wuhan institute of virology might have collected these viruses from bats for scientific study and then this virus might have accidently escaped from the lab. Although this virus is expected to come from Wuhan institute of virology, it doesn’t seem an intentional bid to hit USA. It is high time to impose restrictions on preparing biological weapons as in coming future the biological war agents (viruses) can supersede any other mean of warfare.