25 February 1998
Scientists to probe link between BSE and CJD

By FWi staff

A MAMMOTH research project to assess the risk to humans from eating BSE-infected meat was announced yesterday by the European Commission in Brussels.

Teams of scientists from across Europe aim to discover how BSE in cows can transmute into its human equivalent, new-variant Creutzfeld Jacob Disease (nvCJD).

The UK has reported 22 cases of nvCJD since the risk of BSE transmission to humans was established. France has also identified one case of the disease.

The research comprises 22 new studies of BSE and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). It will cost a total of £14.6 million.

“The need to speed up research in this sector has become a priority,” said a statement from Brussels. “Our understanding of the infective agent and the transmission mechanisms associated with TSE is still largely non-existent.”

The scientists aim to develop a method of diagnosis so that nvCJD can be more quickly and easily identified. They will also investigate therapeutic and preventative measures to cope with any future outbreaks of the disease.