First results of vCJD survey show no signs of prion
- By: Roger Dobson
First results from a study of human tissues have shown no evidence of the abnormal prion protein associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
A total of 3170 specimens of tonsil and appendix tissue were examined for traces of the protein as part of a study designed to help assess the number of cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) that may be incubating in the adult UK population.
Estimates of the total number of cases have varied widely over the past few years, from half a million down to 100. So far, 53 people have died from vCJD, a disease caused by the same strain of agent as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). A further 12 people are alive with vCJD-like symptoms.
Despite the negative results from this first batch of specimens, announced by the Department of Health, the chief medical officer, Professor Liam Donaldson, urged caution in their interpretation.
“The fact that no