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Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is available within his Department for (a) routine testing for (i) anthrax, (ii) botulism, (iii) staphylococcus enterotoxin B, (iv) ricin, (v) plague and (vi) smallpox and (b) research into biodefence. [109288]

Funding for all routine testing for anthrax, botulism, staphylococcus enterotoxin B and plague is covered within the overall funding of diagnostic testing services across the National Health Service and is not separately identified. Routine testing for smallpox is not undertaken as this disease has been eradicated. Testing for Ricin is not undertaken within the NHS and is only undertaken at DSTL Porton Down.Research into biodefence is co-ordinated across Government by the Home Office as part of its overall chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear programme. The Department of Health has funded a number of research projects from within its existing overall research programme to help plan the responses required in the event of a bioterrorist incident. The Department also provided funding of £2.4 million revenue and £8 million capital in 2002–03 for a strategic response capability at the Health Protection Agency Porton Down, formerly the Centre for Applied Microbiological Research. This response capability includes biodefence research.