How a scientist obtained thousands for a BSE test he could not prove

HARASH NARANG has claimed for many years to be able to detect BSE before the appearance of any symptoms. Now we know, finally, that this is not true. Dr Narang has had his research project scrapped because he was unable to meet the strict criteria needed for validating a medical test.

He has been a thorn in the side of the scientific establishment with his outspoken views on BSE and has been told by the Government's Medical Research Council (MRC) that independent scientists have been unable to approve his alleged test because he could not respond to "practical difficulties" with its use.

The MRC said yesterday that the problems arose last year and it had given Dr Narang an extra nine months to find a way to overcome the difficulties of validating the first phase of the two-phase project to get the test to work in a clinical setting using the urine of people suspected of suffering from new variant CJD - the human form of BSE.

Dr Narang had access to a specially built electron microscopy laboratory and several researchers at the University of Leeds to prove that his test really worked.

Experts from the National CJD Surveillance Centre in Edinburgh co-ordinated the supply of urine samples from patients.

But the project did not get beyond the first phase, costing pounds 125,000 and expected to last only six months, because of problems with contamination. Dr Narang's test used distilled water that had not been filtered, so enabling bacterial strands to contaminate samples and so be confused with the microscopic fibres he believed indicated a positive result for BSE or CJD.

The MRC said that Dr Narang has been given every opportunity to respond to the criticisms of his scientific protocol but he has declined, bringing the work to an end before the second phase of the 18-month project could begin.

George Radda, the secretary of the MRC, said that without proper validation that could be open to scrutiny by independent scientists, the technique of Dr Narang could not be considered a viable test.

"The present evaluation has not succeeded. In the judgement of the scientists at Leeds university, everything possible has been done that could have been done by the MRC," Dr Radda said.

A test for BSE would provide enormous benefits both for farmers and doctors concerned about the spread of new variant CJD in the human population. Dr Narang has repeatedly claimed that he has developed an accurate diagnostic but had been prevented from validating it by government officials.

"I already had a diagnostic test for BSE which I had developed for [sheep] scrapie in 1985 and 1986 and published in 1987," Dr Narang told the inquiry into BSE.

If the test has been developed early in the BSE epidemic, diseased animals could have been eliminated from the human food chain, Dr Narang said.

Dr Narang has already received tens of thousand of pounds of public money to develop another version of his BSE test, with the help of scientists at the London Hospital - but this ended in failure, as well.

Dr Narang was suspended from this post as a clinical microbiologist at the Public Health Service Laboratory in Newcastle upon Tyne because of allegations of misconduct. He was later made redundant.

Narang's

Claims

1 That he discovered an unusual form of CJD at the end of the 1980s which he believed was caused by BSE. In fact, the new variant form of CJD was only discovered at the end of 1995 and confirmed as totally new in 1996. Its links with BSE were only established after experiments on mice were published in 1998.

2 He claimed in 1997 he could prove that chickens can be infected with BSE, although he insisted on keeping the carcasses of the hens to himself until he could finish his research. No published research has ever established that chickens can be infected with BSE.

3 In 1996 Dr Narang cast doubt on tests that were supposed to give milk a clean bill of health for being BSE-free. However, there is no direct evidence that milk can pass on the BSE agent.

4 Dr Narang claims that BSE is caused by a new type of virus containing genetic material known as nucleic acid. He claims to have identified the nucleic acid but most other scientists believe that a virus is not the cause of BSE. As yet, his results have not been replicated.

5 Blood transfusions can transmit CJD and the human form of BSE. No evidence that they can has emerged but government advisers have taken precautions against it being passed on in white blood cells.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Network Engineer - CCNP, Hedge Fund, London

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer - CCNP, Hedge Fu...

Senior Network Engineer-CCIE, Multicast, Low Latency

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-CCIE, Mul...

Network Infrastructure Engineer

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Infrastructure Engineer (...

Network Engineer (CCNP, BGP, Multicast)

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, BGP, Mult...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition