Scientists Discovered North Korean Defector Carried Anthrax Antibodies

As we’ve reported here and here, there have been several high-profile defections this year involving Korean soldiers sprinting across the heavily fortified border between the two Koreas – a feat that had not been previously accomplished since 2007. In the first incident, the soldier was shot seven times as he staged a daring escape that ended with him being dragged to safety by American and South Korean forces. That incident was caught on video, which can be viewed below.

In the second incident, a North Korean soldier simply walked across.

Two other soldiers also escaped in incidents that apparently weren’t picked up by the western media.

Now, doctors examining one of the soldiers have reportedly discovered that he possesses antibodies to Anthrax – a potent chemical weapon that was notoriously used in the 2001 Anthrax attacks in the US. According to the New York Post, a South Korean intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity did not say which of the four soldiers who fled the hermit kingdom this year had the antibodies in his system. But the discovery is causing concern in Seoul because, once the bacterium is released, it can kill 80% of those infected within 24 hours unless antibiotics are taken or vaccination is available.

And while the US has stockpiles of the vaccine, South Korea has yet to produce it.

Defense Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said an anthrax “vaccine is expected to be developed by the end of 2019,” but likely not before then.

The restive North Korean regime has been suspected of developing biological weapons after publicizing the works of the Pyongyang Biological Technology Research Institute in 2015. The institute is run by the North Korean army.

Pyongyang claimed the facility specializes in pesticide research, but analysts have said its dual-use equipment suggests biological weapons are being manufactured in North Korea.

North Korea’s neighbors fear Pyongyang is conducting illegal biological weapons tests to see if anthrax-laden warheads can be loaded onto its missiles, the Sun of the UK reported. Media reports earlier this year suggested that North Korea had begun to test loading anthrax onto them.

The report said the US is aware of the tests, which are meant to ascertain whether the anthrax bacteria could survive reentry into the Earth's atmosphere - as we pointed out last week.

Seoul believes North Korea has a chemical weapons stockpile of up to 5,000 tons and can produce biological warfare agents such as anthrax and smallpox. Also last week, the White House pointed to the dangers posed by North Korea in the National Security Strategy released by President Trump.

"North Korea - a country that starves its own people - has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland," read the report.

"[North Korea is] pursuing chemical and biological weapons which could also be delivered by missile."

Pyongyang denied the Asahi report through the state media Korean Central News Agency.

"As a state party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), [North Korea] maintains its consistent stand to oppose development, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of biological weapons," the KCNA reported.

Comments

fx HowdyDoody Dec 27, 2017 7:49 AM Permalink

The country with the largest biological weapons stockpile, by far, is the USofA!Tiome and again it feels treatened by every so small country that attempts to get  nukes or biological weapons. Guess what, the entire world feels threatened by the huge arsenal of these weapons that the USA has!A few months ago, a US lab purchased specific smples of Russian DNA, again, for "general research" purposes. Nothing to do wiuth Russia, just "coincidence" Russia was alarmed enough to demand an official explanation and assurance, that no biological weapons are being developed that specifically target Russian people.Of course, the US would never ever do that anyway, would they? Being the one and only country ever using nuclear weapons, bombing an entire country over and over again with chemcial weapons (Vietnam), using uranium-ammunition in Iraq and former Yugoslavia... ayeah, the "good guys" can do no wrong and no harm... 

In reply to by HowdyDoody

Cry Baby Moe fx Dec 27, 2017 8:30 AM Permalink

um... however corrupt the US is, i would rather they have the WOMD than some maniac dictator. The US has a balance of powers and other protections in place which prevent our dear leaders from messing everyone over. In NK, little rocket man can blow up whoever he wants. The people think hes god or something. They'll give up their lives for him...so, yeah, it's dangerous when countries like that have nukes and the like... 

In reply to by fx

greenskeeper carl Cry Baby Moe Dec 27, 2017 9:18 AM Permalink

Yes, because as we all know, it's not like every single modern president hasn't unilaterally attacked someone without a declaration of war, or went around these separation of powers.

That entire notion is a joke. It's something that exists only on paper, not in practice. It remains on paper to deceive the naive that constitutional rule of law still exists. You know, kinda like the bill of rights.

In reply to by Cry Baby Moe

TrajanOptimus fx Dec 27, 2017 8:52 AM Permalink

The country with the largest biological weapons stockpile, by far, is the USofA

BS, the US destroyed all of its bio weapons as well as its chemical stockpile. All that remains are lab samples.

A few months ago, a US lab purchased specific samples of Russian DNA, again, for "general research" purposes.

More BS. Any weapon that would kill white Russians wouls also kill all white Americans. Russians are not an independent race.Where do you people come up with this stupid nonsense?

In reply to by fx

Ghost who Walks Dec 27, 2017 5:54 AM Permalink

Interesting discovery, but what does it mean?Anthrax was first encountered in the natural environment and is associated with rural workers.The fact that the soldier has antibodies means little unless it can shown that the antibodies are specific to a weaponised strain.

TuPhat CheapBastard Dec 27, 2017 8:57 AM Permalink

In the southwest US cattle die every year from Anthrax.  It naturally exists in the ground.  In very dry weather the dust has some Anthrax in it and animals that breathe it can contract the disease.  This article is silly scaremongering and nothing more.  The Anthrax scare in the US turned out to be hoax anyway.

In reply to by CheapBastard

Grumbleduke Dec 27, 2017 5:58 AM Permalink

notoriously used in the 2001 Anthrax attacks in the US.and there you have it - by whom and where did it come from? Conveniently left out. I wonder why?Seems the nuke scare is waning off, time for a new scenario. Dumbed down education leads to dumbed down script writing, full of plot holes and under-developed characters. Good job on the villain and the haircut, though.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Dec 27, 2017 6:01 AM Permalink

Anthrax doesn't concern me. Smallpox terrifies me. I have been saying, for quite some time, that smallpox is a huge concern. It is the one vaccination no one under the age of 45 has been given. Young people are vulnerable to this disease and it the ease with which smallpox can be spread, along with a vulnerable young population that concerns me.

The CDC claims to have enough smallpox vaccine on hand to innoculate the populace of the US. What they don't say is that vaccine was made in the 1970s and has been stored. Do you eat 45-year old canned food? Why would anyone trust a 45-year old vaccine? I certainly would not. As for the antrhrax vaccine used on military troops it made them quite ill. I wouldn't take that, either.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Arnold Dec 27, 2017 6:22 AM Permalink

This letter is from 1999 and discusses stored smallpox. Apparently it is dessicated virus that can by used once it is rehydrated, although, as the letter states, some of the seals on the vials have failed. From the CDC's own website: https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/14892/Email

Here is an excerpt from the above linked letter: "593Vol. 5, No. 4, JulyñAugust 1999Emerging Infectious DiseasesLettersCurrent Status of Smallpox VaccineTo the Editor: The possible use of smallpox virusas a weapon by terrorists has stimulated growinginternational concern and led to a recent reviewby the World Health Organization of the globalavailability of smallpox vaccine. This reviewfound approximately 60 million doses worldwide,with little current vaccine manufacture, al-though limited vaccine seed remains available (1).Ongoing discussions in the United Statessuggest that the national stockpile shouldcontain at least 40 million doses to be held inreserve for emergency use, including in case of aterrorist release of smallpox virus (OíToole, thisissue, pp. 540-6).The current U.S. stockpile contains approxi-mately 15.4 million doses of vaccinia vaccine(Dryvax) made from the New York City Board ofHealth strain of vaccinia and was produced byWyeth Laboratories in 13 separate lots. Thevaccine is lyophylized in glass vials with rubberstoppers and sealed with a metal band. Whenrehydrated, each vial contains 100 doses and hasa potency of at least 108 plaque-forming units(pfu)/ml. Some vials of the vaccine stockpile haveshown elevated moisture levels and thus failedroutine quality control testing; however, thevaccine in these vials remains potent, and thefailed lots have not been discarded.The diluent used to rehydrate the vaccinecontains brilliant green, which makes thevaccine easier to visualize when administeredwith bifurcated needles. Over time, the brilliantgreen has deteriorated, and most of the availablediluent does not pass quality control. Discussionsare under way with Wyeth to begin production ofsufficient new diluent for the entire stockpiLe."

This is a link to an article written in 2001 that discusses the need for fresh smallpox vaccine in case of use of smallpox as a bioweapon. https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/15225

In reply to by Arnold

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Arnold Dec 27, 2017 6:32 AM Permalink

I still have my WHO shot records and was vaccinated for Smallpox with the Wyeth-brand smallpox in 1982. I was vaccinated as a child and received another vaccination prior to being sent to the former West Germany.

One question that comes up is the length of time for the vaccination to remain protective. No one knows. At least I have some immunity. Young people have none. All the crappy vaccines they give them and none of them have been vaccinated against this.

If there is one thing that keeps me awake at night, and gives me nightmares, it is the possibility of small pox being used as a bioweapon.

There used to be a CDC page that claimed they had enough smallpox vaccine, in storage, for every person in the US (330 million). They took that page down. I didn't save it and I can't find it anymore.

In reply to by Arnold

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Arnold Dec 27, 2017 7:38 AM Permalink

I am familiar with those articles. Another one from 2011 discussed how a vial of frozen smallpox was suddenly found in a NIH freezer.

I completely disagree with your assesment that most clinics / hospitals / doctors are able to assess smallpox at the present time, Who learns about smallpox and what do they learn? Basically most doctors and nurses learn that smallpox was a big success and was cured and wiped from the face of the earth. Except for vials kept in certain labs and freezers around the world for research purposes modern medical doctors, and their staff, are poorly equipped and poorly educated to address an outbreak, especially a weaponized outbreak.

I don't think the western world would have a clue about a smallpox outbreak until it was too late. Look at how the west handled a possible Ebola outbreak. Nurses flipping out and crying because they were quarantined? People complaining that it was racist to screen for potential Ebola or to ban incoming flights? I view the Ebola outbreak from several years ago as a beta test and the US and Europe utterly failed.

Do you realize how long it takes to create a large vaccine batch? It doesn't happen overnight. It takes many months to produce large batches.

I haven't even brought up the use of how to innoculate against a weaponized version of small pox. And a bioweapon that has spliced small pox with Ebola or plague.

It would only take a few infected people landing in NY, London, Paris, Singapore, Mumbai, and Lagos to infect the world. Six people and the world is defenseless.

In reply to by Arnold

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 SilverRhino Dec 27, 2017 6:51 AM Permalink

I have read a number of books over the years but not that one. Added to my reading list, thank you.

This article was written in 2001 and discusses the need for fresh vaccine specifially in case of the use of smallpox as a bioweapon. 18 years and nothing has been done, as far as I can tell, to protect anyone but a few.

https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/15225

In reply to by SilverRhino