|Nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons are collectively known as
'weapons of mass destruction' for the reasons that they are capable of high order of
destruction and the effects go beyond the intended military target. It was generally
believed that the weapons were developed by States to increase their military strength.
The recent events however indicate that these weapons can also be developed and used by
non State actors who can unleash terror amongst innocent victims.
The damaging effects of nuclear
weapons are due blast, heat, and raDIATion. While the central zone of detonation will be
totally annihilated, people outside this zone have a fair chance of survival, though long
term effects cannot be discounted. To segregate the population on the basis of severity of
symptoms and survivability, monitoring raDIATion (both internal and external) is required.
There is absolute need therefore, to protect the less affected and save as many lives as
possible by proper medical management.
Severity due to chemical
weapons is somewhat less pronounced. The detection of the agents, individual and
collective protection methods, materials and equipment for decontamination are
important as the time of response is a critical factor to mitigate the suffering.
Biological agents are slow
acting and not all affected would suffer at the same time. Certain diseases however, have
short incubation period and spread very fast through man to man contact and may lead to an
epidemic proportion. Therefore, the etiology of the diseases must be known to administer
the specific drugs to the victims and start prophylaxis for the unaffected.
Keeping in view the most
essential monitoring and protection measures necessary for a solider to face NBC threat,
DRDO over the years has developed many system that neutralise the effect of these agents.
These systems have been highlighted in the present and the next issue of the Technology
Focus. This we believe would create awareness amongst the readers and also the