North Korea has reportedly started ‘loading’ tests with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) using a deadly biological agent called anthrax, the Japanese newspaper Asahi reported Wednesday, citing a South Korean source.
The spy source told the newspaper that Pyongyang had undertaken heat and pressure resistance tests. The regime is testing whether anthrax can withstand temperatures of more than 7,000 degrees, the temperature that such a missile would face when coming back into the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to Newsweek, Anthrax contaminates the body when spores enter it, multiplying and spreading an illness that could be fatal. Weaponized anthrax mostly infects humans through inhalation, which is the deadliest form of transmission. Skin infections of anthrax are less deadly. Inhalation anthrax has an overall death rate of 80 percent.
There was an unconfirmed intelligence report that North Korea has already succeeded in such experiments.
The report said that Washington had apparently been aware for some time that North Korea is culturing anthrax. That, according to a former U.S. government official, is the reason U.S. troops in South Korea have been vaccinated against smallpox and anthrax since around 2004.
North Korea has a store of between 2,500 and 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, South Korea has previously said, adding that it was capable of producing biological agents like anthrax and smallpox.