The World War reached a turning point in 1943 as the last of German troops at Stalingrad surrendered on January 31, but that celebration was soon forgotten, as some American officials learned of a new threat to our nation from the barbarians.
In a laboratory just outside Bremen, Germany, scientists had been studying new biological weapons, when they made a breakthrough in late 1942 by creating a deadly variant of the tobacco mosaic virus. It was named Brem-V.
After reviewing documents and making notes from an anonymous source, the story recalled here reveals a sinister plot that was thwarted by American resolve.
The virus was prepared in a liquid mixture, poured into small cologne perfume atomizers and sent through Switzerland into the United States, where the plan was to spray into the atmosphere at crowded events, and so the epidemic would begin.
Lab tests showed Brem-V was deadly, killing as many as 3% of those infected, and its symptoms were debilitating enough to keep victims in bed for at least two weeks if they survived. Should only 10 million got the infection, the 300,000 ensuing deaths would cause panic, shutdowns, even end much production of vital war materials.
On February 14th spies set the operation into motion in New York City’s Chinatown, as the virus was was released at three restaurants on two adjacent streets.
Within hours the White House learned of the attack and ordered a quiet tracking of those possibly affected. The virus was not extremely contagious, but it had a long period of gestation. The first step was a quarantine, extending 12 blocks in any direction. This area included about 8,000 residents.
Customs officials had intercepted one of the two shipments of the virus a week earlier. The government was already working on plans to fight a mass Brem-V epidemic if there were other virus bottles that had escaped detection.
Testing was vital. If those infected could be removed from the zone and treated off site, then life would return to normal in the neighborhood.
U.S. drug manufacturers had met with federal officials for several days, and none had tests that worked.
Prior to the Nazi attack on the U.S., the Germans had tested the virus on occupied Korea. Patriots, working in secret, had devised a simple test kit to identify the virus with only a four-hour turnaround. By isolating the affected, many lives were saved and the Germans were unaware of the breakthrough.
The chemical details and schematics for the test were subsequently spirited off to the Korean Liberation Army (KLA), which was fighting in China against the Japanese invasion.
An American military officer at one of the early Brem-V task force sessions told the group that he heard the KLA had created a virus test that was both safe and fast. He was ordered to get more details and samples.
In two days the test kits arrived by plane from China. The FDA examined them, and reported:
While the KLA Test shows great promise, particularly because of anecdotal reports that these were used on several hundred patients in Korea without ill effects, such a test must require further examination by our agency. We would prefer a four-month, small group examination of efficacy and subsequent adverse reactions, followed by a seven-month regimen with a larger group, including subjects with and without the virus. Using information gained from these studies we can make a recommendation after no more than a two-month review of the results.
This response from the Food and Drug folks was sent up the chain of command, ultimately to the White House, and a reply came back almost immediately to the task force:
We have much to fear from little men with great responsibility, and no war is won with cowardly sloth. Forget the bureaucrats, order 10,000 of the tests so we have some extras in case those SOB’s try this again.
-FDR, Feb. 16, 1943
Thanks to swift action, Brem-V was quickly eradicated by testing, isolating and treating for symptoms. Sadly, a handful of Americans died from the virus, but none from the testing.
No American drug company or medical device manufacturer was permitted to exploit the public with over-priced tests. The KLA donated the rights to formulas and methods – all for the sake of humanity.