Prions are the cause of many degenerative brain diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD), Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker, fatal insomnia, and new-variant CJD
, which, so far, has afflicted about 100 young adults in Great Britain and Europe.
They fear many more people may be susceptible to new-variant CJD
than previously thought.
The court heard how the 45-year-old had been exposed through his NHS treatment to a range of hepatitis viruses, HIV and blood prions which could cause new-variant CJD
And rules to protect patients from a theoretical risk of new-variant CJD
have resulted in large increases in the number of patients waiting more than a year to have their tonsils removed.
The NHS is giving hospitals pounds 200million to improve procedures in the wake of fears that new-variant CJD
could be transmitted by surgical instruments.
And scientists, including experts at the Department of Health, now acknowledge that new-variant CJD
may claim up to 136,000 lives in Britain over the next 60 years.
And the mother of a teenage British victim of new-variant CJD
- believed to be caused by contact with BSE-infected beef - has suggested she may be ready to offer herself as a guinea pig to help test the treatment's safety for use on humans.
The new mums could have contracted new-variant CJD
from contaminated surgical instruments while giving birth by Caesarean delivery.
Since the mid 1990s, 35 Britons have died from the human form of BSE, which is known as new-variant CJD
has occurred only in the UK and France and while there is still only one case in the Republic, authorities are worried publicity could lead to a new ban on Irish beef.
A YOUNG father has become the latest Scots victim of the deadly brain disease new-variant CJD
The inquiry was charged with investigating the emergence of BSE and new-variant CJD
up until March 1996 when the Government announced a possible link between the disease in cows and CJD in humans.