Unfinished research

Britain's programme of research into Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) left vital gaps, a member of the government's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee told the official BSE inquiry recently. Jeffery Almond from University of Reading, UK, believes that the agriculture ministry should have commissioned more research into the threat posed to human health. A three-year programme on the biology of BSE and related diseases, initiated by the Agricultural and Food Research Council in 1991, was also too short to yield any definitive answers, according to Almond. And a hiatus before the start of a successor programme allowed research teams break up. "My laboratory essentially emptied," Almond told the inquiry.

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