The All-Union Science Production Association Biopreparat (Russian: Биопрепарат, lit: "biological preparation") was the Soviet agency created in April 1974, which spearheaded the largest and most sophisticated offensive biological warfare programme the world has ever seen. It was a vast, ostensibly civilian, network employing 30–40,000 personnel and incorporating five major military-focused research institutes, numerous design and instrument-making facilities, three pilot plants and five dual-use production plants. The network pursued major offensive R&D programmes which genetically engineered microbial strains to be resistant to an array of antibiotics. In addition, bacterial agents were created with the ability to produce various peptides, yielding strains with wholly new and unexpected pathogenic properties.[1]