The previous post brought attention to the role of the Department of Statutory and Exotic Bacterial Diseases, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, (within the 3 KM zone of the Egham Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak announced today ) in undertaking Bio-warfare research. This is a single example of the work udertaken there. Much of it is of course secret.
" ....Brucella species have also long been considered potential biological warfare agents, and in 1954 Brucella became the first biological agent to be treated as a weapon and field tested on animals under the old U.S. offensive biological weapons program. Recent history has raised awareness in this area (28), and the organism remains on the list of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention category B potential biological warfare agents (25). (Note date of paper is 2006)
28.Whatmore, A. M., T. J. Murphy, S. J. Cutler, and A. P. MacMillan. 2004. An assessment of the potential of amplified-fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) for use in identification and typing of Brucella isolates, p. 95-99. In P. H. Elzer and K. T. Metodiev (ed.), Risk infections and possibilities for biomedical terrorism. NATO Science Series, IOS Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
25.Rotz, L. D., A. S. Khan, S. R. Lillibridge, S. M. Ostroff, and J. M. Hughes. 2002. Public health assessment of potential biological terrorism agents. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 8:225-230. [PubMed].
Here are descriptions of the sort of work that these laboraties are involved in developing BW detection and identification using portable equipment - note that portable detection has been used on all the FMV sites and then verified in the laboratory later.
"We have produced recombinant antibodies to biological warfare agents and simulants using an M13 phage-display system. By using large libraries, many specific antibodies were selected within a few weeks. By modifying the methods of biopanning used we selected for highly specific antibodies that do not react with closely related, non-infectious species of bacteria. We have used the same system to produce antibodies to smaller ligands and haptens. Once useful antibodies have been found they can be produced quickly and cheaply in simple bacterial fermentations. We will ........... are improving these antibodies by random and directed mutagenesis to improve their utility in biosensors, and show examples of recombinant antibodies giving real time detection on biosensor surfaces."
"The requirement is for rapid, sensitive and specific assays for identification of biological warfare (BW) agents in clinical or environmental samples so that appropriate protective measures may be taken. The (deleted) is researching physical and biochemical methods for the identification of pathogens in the field, including flow-through detection systems capable of real-time pathogen identification. Clinical diagnostic systems are also being developed which enable the movement of diagnostic tests closer to the point of infection...... research in the areas of real-time and near real-time sensor development including antibody and DNA based detection systems as well as other technologies required to overcome the unique
challenges of detection and diagnosis on the battlefield."
In "The War of the Worlds" by H.G.Wells the 2nd day of the Martian landings were on Addlestone Golf Links. Surrey.
Keep posted. This looks like a story that will either run or be stopped dead in it's tracks.
UPDATE 2300 hrs
BBC Radio / TV News and Newsnight do not mention existence of VLA labs within the 3 Km. Egham exclusion zone. Farm adjacent to outbreak is undergoing a cull of 200 cattle and 300 pigs.
The causative strain of FMV has not been fully decoded but is an "O" series - the final results will be known in the morning. Paradoxically the testing is being udertaken at NIAH Pirbright.
Not a peep from Mr Benn - but BBC TV news showed CVO Debbie announcing, pleased as Punch last week that FMV had been exterminated in the UK in 20o7.
UPDATE Wimbledon Press report traffic gridlock for hours - woman gives birth in traffic. All traffic is being diverted. Now why would Plod divert traffic for FMV ? How very odd. Headline is - "Traffic gridlock around foot and mouth exclusion zone"