We’ve been hearing from different South Korean and other regional sources that a North Korean soldier who defected across the demilitarized zone between the northern and southern parts of the Korean Peninsula has developed antibodies against anthrax.
The reports from local news network Channel A (as cited by UPI) are particularly interesting because many suspect Pyongyang of attempting to develop some new types of dangerous bacteriological weapons. According to the New York Post, analysts began to suspect this after the release of certain research by the Pyongyang Biological Technology Research Institute in 2015.
Some experts say that this very research proves that bacteriological weapons are being quickly developed in North Korea. South Koreans fear also that Pyongyang can load its missiles with biological weapons containing anthrax or smallpox bacteria, which could bring southeastern Asia and all neighboring regions to a drastic disaster as nearly 80% of the affected population will not survive such an attack.
South Korean Defense Ministry officials claim that the anthrax vaccine could be created by the end of 2019, according to the Post, and the United States is attentively following these regional events.
This is not the first time North Korean soldiers have escaped. According to the BBC, between January and August 2017, nearly 800 North Korean men and women defected to South Korea from North Korea. In November, another North Korean soldier defected in a similar episode to the story about the escapee who was rescued this month.
As retold by Lenta, it was quite an exciting story. The soldier was attempting to cross the border in a military vehicle, but when it got stuck in a ditch, he jumped out and, without hesitating, ran south. He was shot several times by his fellow soldiers who were pursuing him, but he moved further until he got exhausted and fell. By that point, he was already in the neutral zone, where South Korean border guards picked him up and carried him to safety just in time.
The soldier was quickly airlifted via helicopter to a hospital where he underwent several operations. During this period, his condition was very critical, but he survived. When the doctors operated on him, they were close to shock after extracting some worms from his body. According to his doctors, they had never seen such worms in their practice before — only in textbooks. Later, one of the doctors demonstrated his fascinating discovery at a press conference.