A chemical and biological weapons expert has warned coronavirus "could be" used for attacks on the world as the pandemic proved a "not very virulent pathogen can bring the world to its knees".
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a scientist who has worked on chemical attacks for 30 years, said Covid was a "big-wake-up call" to the world.
He said the "devastating pandemic" has shown it can stop the world, which won’t go "unnoticed by bad actors" who want to "do us harm".
Mr Bretton-Gordon stressed that he is not suggesting coronavirus is a biological weapon but it "could be" in time.
Speaking to the PA News Agency, Mr Bretton-Gordon added that with "any threat," an attack from a SARS-type pathogen could be mitigated if governments’ "face up" to the possibility.
He said: "I think Covid has been a big wake-up call on the biological security front.
"We haven’t really seen any devastating pandemic like we’ve seen with Covid really since the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed millions of people.
"What Covid has shown is that actually, a not-very-virulent pathogen can bring the world to its knees."
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Mr Bretton-Gordon said: "Unfortunately, there are bad actors around who want to do us harm.
"A lot of them are thinking there’s no better way to do it than a SARS-type pathogen. But like any threat, if you face up to it, you can mitigate it."
In his new book, the scientist said that his "jaw almost hit the floor" when he learned of the Salisbury Novichok poisonings in the UK.
The attack targeted Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the British intelligence agencies.
His daughter, Yulia Skripal, was also affected, and both she and her dad spent several weeks in hospital before being discharged.
He said the attack was "bizarre" and something he never suspected to happen in his home town, claiming that it "really frightened" people in the community.
Mr Bretton-Gordon said the substance has a potential to kill thousands of people with an amount the size of an egg cup and admitted he called his family to urge them to stay inside.
The deadly pathogen may have prepared the residents of Salisbury for Covid, he said, as fighting Novichok is "all about decontamination and staying away from places".
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