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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

E. coli bacteria ‘tested as biological weapon’

Interesting article that I hope has no applicability of the source of E. coli O157:H7

4NI Northern Ireland News reports that defense scientists secretly tested E. coli bacteria as a possible biological weapon in the 1960s, according to a Ministry of Defense report. According to the 1966 MoD report on the Porton Down laboratory in Wiltshire, the trials were conducted near Swindon and Southampton between 1965 and 1967.

The trials involved the release of “microthreads” covered in the bacteria. The report discusses the “production of micro-organisms for weapons systems”, and said that the “excellent quality and reproducibility” of E. coli suggested that “highly satisfactory results” could be achieved.

There did not appear to be any mention of whether anybody was affected by the bacteria during the course of the trials. The report has been released for public viewing for the first time at the National Archives in Kew, south west London.

  • It is June 2011, and Europe is in the grips of an outbreak of a E. coli O104:H4, the deadliest on record. It is new strain that has genes from two other strains and is resistant to some antibiotics. Am I alone suggesting it has been genetically engineered? And that this is a dry run for something bigger?

  • Questioner

    Dear Mr. Marler,
    I,ve seen, on the National Archieses side, that it’s possible to identify Documents by the year and an own number. Can you tell me the number and the year of that Document? I wanna read it myself.
    Thank You