Taliban and HIV-1 ‘dirty bombs’

Read on my GoogleNews today:

Taliban Reportedly Adding HIV-Infected Needles to Explosive Devices
Hypodermic syringes are reportedly hidden below the surface of explosive devices, pointing upwards to prick bomb squad experts as they hunt for devices.

The needles are feared to be contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. And if the bomb goes off, the needles become deadly flying shrapnel.

Some viruses/bacteria can live a long time outside of the human body. Bacteria sporulate so that can survive in harsh conditions (think anthrax spores), and some viruses can survive outside of a host okay (polio, parvo).

HIV-1 is not one of those viruses.

HIV-1 is an enveloped, delicate little wuss.

Say there is a spot of HIV-1 infected blood sitting on a countertop. In a few hours, when that spot dries up, the virus is dead. It cant infect anything anymore than a dried out mummy can eat you.

Needles are a little trickier. Not all of the liquid in a needle is exposed to air, so it takes a while longer to dry out (thus disarm HIV-1). But I just checked the average temperature of Afghanistan in June– 90 degrees. And the average humidity? 30-something%. So right now its really hot and dry in Afghanistan. I dont have high hopes for the survival of HIV-1 in these contaminated bombs.

And btw, where the hell are they getting HIV-1 positive people to poke hundreds of times to get all these HIV(+) needles? I thought HIV-1 didnt exist in Muslim countries because they dont have homosexuals and dont have sex outside of marriage and they dont use drugs and stuff? I mean, they say they have like no HIV-1 in Afghanistan (0.01%, same as Saudi Arabia, *WINK!*).

Comments

  1. #1 Kemanorel
    June 9, 2010

    Nthey’re gonna go and read this and start putting polio in the needles or something… way to go, ERV… /snark

    :-P

  2. #2 Tyler
    June 9, 2010

    Oh those Taliban. Not too sharp. I wonder if HIV would even survive the blast of an explosion. Seems to me it would just be vaporized anyways.

    The real question is, do they believe that viruses are alive? If so, do they enjoy the same martyrdom perks as the rest of the infidel killers?

  3. #3 Thomas
    June 9, 2010

    The Talibans aren’t exactly science savvy so they might very well try. Next question is if the British soldiers will trust that a method like that can’t work, else it may still be sound psychological warfare. Unless, it’s all psychological warfare to demonize the talibans.

  4. #4 plutosdad
    June 9, 2010

    That is a relief, it could be worse: they could filling bombs with syringes full of polio vaccine so that we’d all get autism.

  5. #5 Sili
    June 9, 2010

    Say there is a spot of HIV-1 infected blood sitting on a countertop. In a few hours, when that spot dries up, the virus is dead. It cant infect anything anymore than a dried out mummy can eat you.

    Obviously they need more HIV+ suicide bombers. That way the wee virus won’t get time to dry out.

  6. #6 Larry Moran
    June 9, 2010

    Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that there really are stupid people who would plant infected needles near the IEDs. The good news is that a certain percentage of them are going to prick themselves as they try to stick the needles in the dirt. We should encourage the practice. It reminds me of the Darwin Awards.

    Note to stupid people: Your technique is causing huge numbers of casualties among your enemy. You should plant far more needles around IEDs – especially at night. This is the one way to make certain the war will be won. Keep up the good work.

  7. #7 natural cynic
    June 9, 2010

    Consider the sources. Fox noise via The Sun [also NewsCorp].

    And the average daytime summer humidity in Afghanistan has to be more like 5-10%. “But it’s a dry heat”, just like AZ & NV. Summertime humidity here often gets below 5% in the afternoon. Silly Okie.

  8. #8 ERV
    June 9, 2010

    natural cynic– Even if this is a made up urban legend, Ive gotten lots of hits today on this post, so this is a myth I am happy to help quash.

    Also, what kind of moron uses HIV-1 as a biological weapon?

    “I INFECTED YOU WITH HIV! YOU MIGHT DIE IN 10-15 YEARS!! BUT SINCE YOURE IN THE MILITARY YOU HAVE ACCESS TO ALL KINDS OF ANTIRETROVIRALS FOR FREE, SO YOU WILL PROBABLY LIVE MUCH LONGER, IF YOU DEVELOP AIDS AT ALL!!!! BWAHAHAHAHA!!!”

  9. #9 BSE
    June 10, 2010
  10. #10 Jason
    June 11, 2010

    This doesn’t even mention what happens to HIV if it’s “pasteurized” (i.e. when the bomb explodes?)

    Could any virus even survive that?

  11. #11 harold
    June 11, 2010

    I guess this at least means that Murdoch-employed journalists agree that AIDS is caused by HIV, not “lifestyle”. Right?

  12. #12 Dale Husband
    June 11, 2010

    I checked that story and it was published on the website of FOX News.

    That told me all I needed to know about its (lack of) credibility. False alarm, time to look for real things to worry about……like that BP caused oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

  13. #13 TheSlat
    June 13, 2010

    Maybe it WOULD make a good bio weapon. I always heard that if you got HIV you were never allowed to get out of the military because only a “fully healthy” person can be separated. You would instead get a desk job on the rifle range till you were cured… Fate worse than death basically.

    May or may not be true, it was the scare speech before going ashore in Thailand. I was more interested in the curry and Pad Thai.

  14. #14 Alex
    June 14, 2010

    That is a relief, it could be worse: they could filling bombs with syringes full of polio vaccine so that we’d all get autism.

    You owe me a new keyboard. I just sprayed coffee into it.

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