Report: Worrying Find Made in Blood of N. Korean Defector

Soldier has somehow become immune to anthrax
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2017 1:25 AM CST
Updated Dec 27, 2017 5:23 AM CST
Report: N. Korea Defector Is Immune to Anthrax
North Korean soldiers march at the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

Blood tests on at least one of the North Korean soldiers that defected to the South this year have detected something extremely concerning, according to a South Korean TV channel. Channel A, citing an unnamed South Korean military source, says anthrax antibodies were detected in the soldier, suggesting Pyongyang could be ramping up its biological weapon capabilities, UPI reports. According to Channel A, South Korean authorities have confirmed that the soldier is immune to the deadly bacterium, though it's not clear whether his immunity comes from vaccination or exposure.

Anthrax can kill within 24 hours if people are not vaccinated, the International Business Times notes, and the South Korean military says its anthrax vaccine will not be ready until the end of 2019. The news adds to concerns about possible biological attacks: The White House released a report last week that said Pyongyang had spent "hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland," and Japan's Asahi newspaper recently reported that North Korea has been trying to find ways for anthrax to survive the high temperatures that intercontinental ballistic missiles experience. (Read more anthrax stories.)

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