Publication Date



School of Health Sciences


Biology: Cell and Molecular Biology


Chimeric Viruses, Biodefense, Anthrax, Sars-CoV-2, Pathogens


Bacteriology | Genetics | Immunology of Infectious Disease | Pathogenic Microbiology | Virology


Bioweapons programs have existed since their development during the Cold War. These biowarfare programs initially utilized naturally occurring pathogens capable of infecting crops, livestock populations, and human populations. Anthrax is a widely exploited bioagent responsible for attacks ranging from the Germans’ deployment in World War I to the mailing of anthrax through the postal service in attempts on U.S. senators’ lives. With the development of genetic manipulations, the Soviet Union began modifying anthrax to resist detection and treatment. With the continued advancement of science and technology, a new bioagent has entered the scene – the man-made chimeric virus. Chimeric viruses typically only infect a certain species, however with genetic alteration they develop characteristics required to infect other species. SARS-CoV-2 and its apparent genetic changes could prove a prime example of how a bat virus underwent genetic mutations that allow it to infect humans. Ultimately, SARS-CoV-2 reveals how chimeric viruses are the bioweapons of the future.