Scientists discover new human link with BSE
Thursday 24 October 1996
EU officials last night warned that the new findings ruled out even a partial lifting of the beef export ban in the foreseeable future and said that Britain must honour its obligation to slaughter all high-risk cattle.
Scientists from the Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London, have shown that a protein associated with the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) identified in humans earlier this year and tentatively linked with eating infected beef, closely resembles that seen in cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and in other animals infected with BSE. The protein, known as a prion, is quite distinct from that found in other forms of CJD. The research could lead to a new test to confirm the new variant of CJD.
These new findings are the first experimental evidence that the appearance of this fatal brain disease in humans is linked with the BSE epidemic in cattle. Twelve cases of the new CJD have been confirmed so far since March with two more suspected cases under investigation.
Professor John Collinge, a consultant neurologist who led the research, said yesterday: "The Government has been working on the assumption that BSE is a human pathogen [infectious agent] and this work strengthens that hypothesis."
A Department of Health spokeswoman called the findings "persuasive" but not conclusive.
Professor Collinge and his team analysed the biochemical properties of prion proteins associated with sporadic and acquired forms of CJD, new variant CJD, and BSE transmitted to mice, cats, and macaque monkeys.
According to their report in today's issue of Nature, they discovered a characteristic molecular signature in new variant CJD which was also present in BSE in cattle and other animals, but absent in other forms of CJD. Professor Collinge, a member of the Government's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, said identification of the marker would lead to a diagnostic test for new variant CJD using human lymph or tonsil tissue within six months, and a blood test within a year. Currently new variant CJD can only be confirmed at autopsy.
The Meat and Livestock Commission said the research had no implications for the safety of beef because safeguards were designed to protect public health from the "worst possible case scenario".
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...