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Spratt Report: South Coast Biological Defence Trials

Volume 597: debated on Tuesday 9 February 1999

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish the independent review conducted by Professor Brian Spratt into the south coast biological defence trials. [HL935]

Professor Brian Spratt has now completed his review of the microbiological defence trials conducted along the south coast in the 1960s and 1970s. The MOD welcomes his main findings:

  • That the trials would have caused no harm to the vast majority of people.
  • That, although there may have been an unquantifiable risk of infection in a small number of people who had a serious underlying disease, such as cystic fibrosis, any such infections would have been infections of the chest or blood and would have occurred within days of release of the bacteria.
  • That it is extremely unlikely that there is any link between the bacteria released in the trials and health problems reported by people who have suffered chronic ill health, miscarriages, or who have had children with disabilities.
I have arranged for a copy of Professor Spratt's full report to be placed in the Library of the House.