entry, but when this barrier is breached, there is great potential for development of effective, targeted uses. (This area would benefit from imaginative red-team development/thinking on the part of the United States, to avoid strategic surprise.)
Role of Pharmaceutical Companies. In the course of reducing toxicity in biological chemical entities, the pharmaceutical industry is probably the greatest source of expertise on the toxicity of new, and new classes of, chemicals. The agricultural industries concerned with animal health, insecticides, and similar matters is another source of relevant expertise. Countries that have endogenous, developed pharmaceutical companies or industries, or have important farming sectors, are candidates for concern as sources both of skilled personnel, and as the sources for the invention or synthesis/manufacturing of chemical agents.
Science Base for Understanding the Effects of Chemical Weapons. Although nerve agents, in specific, are recognized as the most important single class of chemical agents, it is remarkable that so little fundamental scientific research has been devoted to understanding how and where they act. This information is not an academic curiosity: it is required for the development of rational therapies for treating injuries resulting from exposure to nerve agents, and for predicting the direction of development of future nerve agents. It will also be important in recruiting the pharmaceutical industry into collaborative work (acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors are being explored, for example, as drugs for use against Alzheimer’s disease).
Committee on Determining Core Capabilities in Chemical and Biological Defense Research and Development, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council "
Appendix B: Additional Thoughts on the Nature of the Chemical Threat ."
Determining Core Capabilities in Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press,