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Sunday, 5 August 2007

Foot and Mouth Virus Released From Government Lab

An American pharmaceutical company appeared to be responsible for the foot and mouth outbreak in Britain.

Merial, which makes foot-and-mouth vaccines and has a laboratory three miles from the Surrey farm hit by the disease, dramatically agreed to stop production immediately.

The breakthrough came after Defra experts established that the strain of foot and mouth disease found in cattle at the infected farm at Wanborough is similar to the virus isolated in the 1967 outbreak in Britain. UK Daily Mail
See Guardian:

High-security centres where scientists produce the virus

When Dr Debby Reynolds, the chief veterinary officer, said that the foot and mouth virus found on the Surrey farm may have come from a laboratory, she could only have meant one of the two organisations in the UK licensed to work with the live virus. The Institute for Animal Health Pirbright laboratory and the Merial Animal Health Company's vaccine manufacturing laboratory lie adjacent to, but separate from, each other three-and-a-half miles from the infected farm.
Update: Russian news agency ITAR-TASS is reporting that the release of the virus came after an "international drill" last month that was held at Pirbright Laboratory, in which live virus was used. Real attacks are always shadowed by drills to provide culpable deniability....
The old old story: we told so