Weapon systems of a completely different nature from those the world has known and feared are now on the horizon. These developments will make biological weapons more attractive, more lethal and more difﬁcult to detect. It is a potential that, if unleashed, would cause immense suffering and could affect the course of societies and of the human species itself.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wants to see this terrifying prospect brought under control. Waging war has so far been a generally military business; this has been quite horriﬁc enough.
But the consequences of a failure to prevent the hostile release of biological agents to destroy agriculture, alter the behaviour of large groups of people or change the human gene pool would, in all probability, be far worse than anything war has inﬂicted on humanity so far. Some of these agents would be the ﬁrst self-reproducing weapons and, once released, beyond the control of the user.