Fear that the world is about to discover that the International Space Station has been used as a germ warfare factory has the US president running scared at the beginning of The Biocide Conspiracy, Ann Massey's new thriller. How far fetched is that?
Totally. Neither the US nor its partners, would have a case to answer. For you see the 1972 treaty is nothing more than a toothless tiger. Though signatories are forbidden from developing or acquiring weapons that spread disease they are permitted to conduct research on both microbes and germ munitions for protective or defensive purposes.
It is hard to understand how experiments involving a model for a germ bomb or the development of more potent anthrax could be viewed as anything other than offensive but calls to strengthen the pact have been rejected by its key signatories.
So even if ISS scientists were actually genetically engineering a potentially deadly bacterium, they need not fear a visit from UN inspectors.