Germany and India collaborating on biopreparedness

A collaboration between Germany and India on methods of coping with and reducing the risks of biological warfare was recently announced.

Germany, India's second largest partner in scientific research after the United States, signed a memorandum last year with India in fields related to biomedicine. The memorandum was signed between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh while Merkel was visiting India, reports.

"We are collaborating with Germany in research on contagious diseases. Germany has seen a rise in tuberculosis cases over the years," Dr. Syed E. Hasnain, a scientist working at New Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology, said, reports. "Last year, India and Germany had to deal with many viral flu cases. That is why we must tackle these issues jointly."

The two countries have started work on methods of minimizing the risks of germ warfare, something experts fear could be more devastating than nuclear war.

Germany and India are focusing on the deadly H5N1 avian flu, which was recently manipulated in labs and shown to be able to be passed from humans to humans. The research caused widespread fear within the medical community that an artificial strain could be mass produced and used as a biological weapon, according to

"If it (the artificially-created H5N1 virus) falls into the wrong hands, this could be extremely dangerous," Hasnain said, reports. "That is why we have banned the publication of research papers on this subject."