15 January 1999
Test to screen for nvCJD

A NEW test is to assess the likelihood of a full-scale epidemic of the human version of mad cow disease.

The test will now be used on two thousand sets of tonsils to see whether they contain the rogue prion protein responsible for new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

People are likely to develop full-blown versions of the disease later in life if their tonsils are harbouring the rogue prion.

The test, for, was developed by the Medical Research Council working with the Wellcome Trust.

Researchers will test tens of thousands of Glaxo Wellcome chemicals for any that could prevent the rogue prion from destroying the brains of victims.

The research will lay the foundations for a drug development programme to be used if an epidemic occurred among people who ate BSE-infected beef in the 1980s.

  • The Times 15/01/99 page 12
  • The Independent 15/01/99 page 9 (Friday Review)
  • Financial Times 15/01/99 page 10
  • The Daily Telegraph 15/01/99 page 2 (News Bulletin)