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 BBC Newsnight  September 5th 2007.  ( unofficial transcript by
Susan Watts

An interim report in mid August failed to pinpoint blame for the outbreak so are the investigators any closer yet to understanding whether the virus came from  Merial or the Government run Institute for animal health?
The government is promising a detailed analysis on Friday but what is clear so far is that live foot and mouth virus got into a section of underground pipe running between Merial and central treatment works at Pirbright.  I spoke to one of the authors of the final reports today and he pointed out that the Institute has a modern animal isolation unit using up to date heat treatment to kill any virus.  The rest of the institute site and Merial share a waste treatment system but both have chemical inactivation which should kill the virus before it reaches this central system.  
So it appears there could be two failures here;  failure to kill the virus and then failure in the Pirbright site's pipework  Understanding how live virus got into the faulty pipe  in the first place is key to establishing any blame.
It shouldn't have.   Dangerous viruses like this should be inactivated before they get anywhere near a drain.
Dr Julian Hiscox  Virology at Leeds University
Susan Watts

And there are other factors at play too.  This is a map, published by the Environment Agency, showing a ring of blue around the  facility. This indicates that parts are at substantial risk of flooding.  Newsnight revealed  in August that the Pirbright site, including  both the Institute for animal health and the Merial facilities, was built on land known to be prone to flood - notably  part of the Merial complex. 
During the extraordinary floods of this summer the Pirbright site did flood on July 20th so water carrying virus from the faulty pipe could bubble to the surface .  Reports   suggest contractors, working on the site  then carried the virus unwittingly on their vehicles along this road past the first farm to be infected
The "we may never know" refrain was still out there today but scientists should  be able to say a lot more about this.  Newsnight understands that 5 samples of virus - 2 from the Institute, 1 from Merial and 1 from each of the infected farms have now been sequenced in detail.  From these sequences it should be possible to say  exactly where the virus came from.








































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