Boffins funded to disprove BSE theory

18 May 1999

Boffins funded to disprove BSE theory

TWO scientists who believe that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is caused by a common microbe found in muddy water, sewage, soil and human skin have been given £216,000 by the ministry of agriculture to prove that beef is safe to eat.

It their theory is right, more than £3.5 billion of taxpayers money has been wasted in measures to protect public health from contaminated beef and that millions of cattle have been slaughtered unnecessarily.

Alan Ebringer, professor of immunology at the Kings College, London, and John Pirt, an expert on the role of bacteria in diseases, believe that the microbe acinetobacter is the link between BSE and the new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and that it is not spread by eating beef.

Professor Ebringer said that acinetobacter is so common it might explain CJD in farmers and vegetarians.

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