Scientists recently discovered a new type of botulinum toxin (a.k.a. botox) that they believe is the deadliest substance known to man. Because they’ve yet to discover an antitoxin, researchers won’t publish the details of gene sequence due to security concerns—a first for the scientific community. Thank God.
When scientists say this stuff is deadly, they mean it. It takes an injection of just 2 billionths of a gram or inhaling 13 billionths of a gram to kill an adult. A spoonful of the stuff in a city’s water supply could be catastrophic. The toxin, which comes from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, blocks the chemical that makes nerves work, causing botulism and death by paralysis. In a comment accompanying a newly published journal article on the new botox, Stanford Medical School professor David Relman said the substance posed “an immediate and unusually serious risk to society.”