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Gulf War Illnesses

Volume 687: debated on Wednesday 6 December 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Statement by Lord Drayson on 19 October (WS 87-88), when the findings of the Vaccines Interactions Research Programme into the health effects of the combinations of vaccines administered to troops involved in the 1990-91 Gulf War first became known to the Ministry of Defence. [HL24]

The Vaccines Interactions Research Programme consisted of three studies. The findings of these studies have been published in stages through the life of the programme. Information on when findings were reported to the independent panel that oversaw the programme (which included veterans’ representatives) and to the Ministry of Defence is given below.

Study of the interaction between anthrax and pertussis vaccines in mice: interim findings reported March and November 2001, and September 2002; final findings reported December 2003.

Study of potential adverse health effects of a combination of vaccines with and without pyridostigmine bromide in the marmoset: pre-study dose determination phases reported March 1999 and September 2000; interim findings reported November 2001, September 2002 and May 2003; main findings reported January and April 2004; supplementary/final findings reported May 2005.

Study of sickness absence records in multi-vaccinated staff from DSTL Porton Down: preliminary findings reported December 1999 and September 2000; final findings reported November 2001.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 1 November (WA 34) on Gulf War illnesses, on what date they first became aware of the research at Wright State University in Ohio into autonomic dysfunction following low-level sarin exposure and its possible relevance to illnesses among British veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War. [HL128]

Wright State University issued a press release about its research in early October 2005. As set out in my Answer of 1 November 2006 (Official Report, col. WA 34), we will review the findings in the final paper when it is published.