§ The Countess of Mar
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What mechanistic research into the effects of exposure of humans to organophosphates (OPs) is being conducted at DERA, Porton Down; whether any of this research involves the many enzymes now associated with OP effects; and when the research is expected to be completed and the results published. [HL229]
§ Lord Gilbert
The Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of DERA at Porton Down is not currently conducting any mechanistic research into the effects of exposure of humans to organophosphorus compounds.
Some research into the mechanisms by which organophosphorus compounds affect living organisms is being conducted in animals, to look at the development of possible new medical countermeasures against nerve agent poisoning.
Studies have been undertaken in the past to investigate the interaction between organophosphorus compounds and the enzymes acetycholinesterase, cholinesterase, carboxyesterase and neuropathy target esterase (NTE) in animal species and with some enzymes derived from human sources, e.g. blood samples. Most of these studies have been reported in the open literature and I have arranged for a list of them to be placed in the Library of the House.