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BSE not to blame for human deaths?

17 May 1999
BSE not to blame for human deaths?

THE government has ordered research to be carried out to test a theory that bovine spongiform encephalopathy is not a threat to human health …more…


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BSE not to blame for human deaths?

17 May 1999
BSE not to blame for human deaths?

THE government has ordered research to be carried out to test a theory that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is not a threat to human health.

The Ministry of Agriculture has awarded £250,000 to two scientists who claim the theory that BSE is caused by a rogue prion protein is wrong.

Alan Ebringer, professor of immunology at Kings College, London, and Prof John Pirt claim that BSE and new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD), together with similar fatal brain disease in animals, are caused by a type of bacteria which is widespread in contaminated water, sewage and the soil.

They say this acinetobacter – a common microbe in the environment – is the real common link between the diseases. Acinetobacter is not spread by eating beef.

The work will involve testing serum from known BSE-affected cattle for high levels of antibodies to the bacteria and bacterial peptides.

The scientists say have already found the antibodies they were seeking in a limited number of cattle serum samples.

  • The Daily Telegraph 17/05/99 page 11

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