§ Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have received further advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee on the scientific evidence on the possibility of a link between bovine spongiform encephalopathy and new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
§ Baroness Jay
The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) considered this issue at their meeting on 23 May 1997 and have since produced a statement entitledResearch Into The Link Between BSE and nvCJD (SEAC, June 1997). The statement summarises the key research results on the question of whether there is a causal link between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) which have emerged since March 1996 when SEAC first concluded that the most likely explanation for the cases of the new variant CJD was exposure to BSE before the introduction of the Spongiform Bovine Offals ban in 1989. The statement concludes that the evidence that has accumulated since the March 1996 announcement is consistent with the hypothesis that nvCJD is caused by exposure to the BSE agent, and that no evidence refuting the hypothesis has yet come to light. However, SEAC regard the evidence to date as insufficient to constitute formal scientific proof of a causative link, and that further data are required before a firm conclusion can be reached. A copy of the statement has been placed in the Library.