How to Survive the Coming Bioengineered Viral Pandemic (Part 1)
By Dave Mills
There are a lot of reasons to be a prepper, and many payoffs you’ll enjoy whether or not you have to implement your worst case plans. It’s impossible to know which threat (or more likely, combination of threats) will lead to a collapse of the economy and law and order, but my research has convinced me that a bioengineered viral pandemic is both the most likely disaster likely to trigger a collapse, and the one most likely to kill a very large portion of the population. Fortunately, advance preparation and planning can dramatically improve your odds of surviving what many experts regard as an inevitable disaster.
The US Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction warned that a terrorist attack by the end of 2013 is very likely, probably with biological weapons. The risks of bioattacks are growing rapidly with advances in DNA engineering technology, overpopulation, and unrestricted international air travel. A leading think tank, the Brookings Institution, outlined the threat of bioengineered viral pandemics in a 2010 report: “Using gene-splicing equipment available online and other common laboratory equipment and materials, a molecular biology graduate student undertakes a secret project to recreate the smallpox virus. Not content merely to bring back an extinct virus to which the general population is now largely naïve, he uses public source material to enhance the virus‘s lethality, enabling it to infect even those whom the government rushes to immunize.”
Many other experts have echoed these warnings. Dr. Tara O‘Toole, director of Johns Hopkins University Center for Biodefense Strategies: “all you have to do is clink in the new gene, you get a new pathogen, you get a new weapon. There‘s no question in our mind that organized terrorists could mount at least a small bioterrorist attack now.” This isn’t just theory, bioengineered viruses have been created. In 2001 Australian researchers attempting to make a contraceptive vaccine for pest control inserted a “good” gene into mousepox virus and accidentally created a lethal new virus that resisted vaccination. There was big controversy a year ago when researchers published instructions on how to make the avian flu virus more lethal and transmissible.
A new bioengineered virus would have no vaccine (unless its creators manufacture one) and likely no way to treat if it has lethality like the Ebola virus. We know Iran is working to build nuclear weapons, but the far greater risk is that they’ll release a deadly virus to kill off the “Great Satin” (that’s their name for the United States), closing their borders and using a vaccine only they have to survive as the virus spreads.
The first and most important step in surviving a bioengineered viral pandemic is avoiding the virus before the alert goes out that a new, unknown virus is spreading. This is not just a matter of luck.
Good news is that we (the U.S. gov’t and friendly allies around the world) have set up a good system to pass alerts and news of a possibly developing new virus. If there is an accidental release of a bioengineered virus that is not designed to have a long incubation period when victims are infectious but still out and about, unknowingly spreading it, it should be detected quickly so quarantine and public health responses can limit the casualties.
The bad news is that a nation state with a sophisticated program designed to deliver a deadly bioweapons will take two steps to get a big population of infected people (or a “reservoir” of other species to harbor the virus) to spread the new virus. First, they’ll try to design a virus with a long period when victims spread the disease. For most lethal human viruses this is a matter of days—but think of HIV at the other extreme. The second thing they’ll do is spread it aggressively to infect as many Americans as they can before the Center for Disease Control or other group discovers the emerging viral pandemic and can issue an alert.
In many Asian cities you see people walking around with face masks on a regular basis. I’ve noticed this a few times in the U.S. It may look odd, but it’s a wise move to reduce your risk of both catching a cold, or a deadly new virus that’s spreading before a public alert can be given.
A deliberately spread virus is going to be released in crowded places and most likely transportation hubs. Not suggesting you stop traveling, but I would advise extra caution (and a face mask) in airports. Fly to Asia sometime and you’ll see quite a few passengers wearing masks. Asians are much more familiar with SARS and Avian Flu, and live in more crowded cities where risks of viral pandemics are higher. It’s a good example to follow.
It’s possible to ride the subway and maneuver around without touching anything if you’re paying attention to avoiding physical contact. This has become a habit for me and my family—it’s one you can easily adopt.
Sorry Oscar—but I don’t believe the “anti Plague juice” (a post on this) will work. For a bioengineered virus, no vaccines or treatments prepared for viruses of the past may work for a truly new virus.
Even with an aggressively spread initial virus attack, odds are you won’t be exposed before an alert is issued. At this point the key thing is to stay away from people and get to your pre-planned survival place where you can implement procedures to avoid catching a virus from family members who may have been exposed, and keep outsiders away.
I’ll cover how a viral pandemic could shut down economic activity and food distribution, lead to marauding and loss of public order, and escalate into a total collapse in a follow up article. Those who are well prepared can survive the virus, breakdown in law and order, and economic collapse.
First in a four part series.
Dave Mills is the pen name for a senior retired U.S. military officer and Dept of Defense official. He has researched and written on a wide variety of security and survival issues and advocates much greater preparedness for viral pandemic threats that experts consistently refer to as “inevitable.”