Creating a bioweapon requires the skills and materials to handle and grow agents, isolate, and disseminate them. Therefore, any medical advance that improves the ease of engineering, handling, or delivering treatment has the potential to be applied by those wishing to do harm and can be considered "dual-use." It is estimated that each year hundreds of dual-use research articles are published, making them accessible to any member of the research community, and thousands of pieces of scientific equipment are purchased on the internet. This openness creates the risk that available information, reagents, or equipment will be used to create more dangerous biological weapons.
In 1997, Dr. David Edwards, then at Pennsylvania State University, published a paper in Science that described a revolutionary way to deliver aerosolized medicines using large porous carrier particles. The method dramatically increased the amount of inhaler-delivered drug that made it deep into the lungs. While this groundbreaking development attracted little media attention at the time, its dual-use implications became clear after 5 people died from inhalation anthrax in 2001.