1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Germ responsible for the plague viewed under digital microscope.
Image: picture-alliance/BSIP/J. Cavallini

Greater risk of bioterrorism post-corona

May 25, 2020

The Council of Europe has warned of a potential increase in the use of biological weapons, like viruses or bacterias, in a post-coronavirus world. Terrorists would not forget "lessons learned" during the pandemic.


Security experts from the Council of Europe have warned that the global coronavirus outbreak may increase the use of biological weapons by terrorists in the future. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how vulnerable modern society is to viral infections and their potential for disuption," the council's Committee on Counter-Terrorism said in a statement. 

Read more: Ricin — an easy-to-obtain bio-weapon from the internet

The deliberate use of disease-causing agents — like viruses or bacterias — as an act of terrorism "could prove to be extremely effective."

Damage to humans and economies could be "significantly higher" than that of a "traditional" terrorist attack. 

Read more: 'Islamic State' exploiting coronavirus and conflict to rise again

European states need coordinated effort

The council's security experts called on the 47 Council of Europe member states to prepare to fight a biological weapons attack by engaging in training exercises.

"The Council of Europe has no concrete evidence of a heightened threat from bioterrorism due to the pandemic," spokesperson Daniel Höltgen told DW. "It does, however, underline the need for continued international cooperation in this field."

UN Secretary General Antionio Guterres said in April he sees a growing danger of bioterrorism attacks that aim to create a pandemic similar to that of the coronavirus. 

The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, France. Its aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. 

kp/rt (dpa, AFP)

DW sends out a daily selection of the day's news and features. Sign up here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

US Patriot missile defense batteries newly installed at the Rzeszow airport located near the Poland-Ukraine border in Rzeszow, Poland

Ukraine calls for air defense help, NATO vows not to waver

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage