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UK smallpox research could continue at Porton


    On 24 August last year Professor Henry Bedson of the Department of Medical Microbiology at Birmingham University analysed samples from Mrs Janet Parker, a university photographer, and confirmed that she had smallpox. The source of her infection was almost certainly Bedson's smallpox laboratory. Within a few weeks Professor Bedson had committed suicide and Mrs Parker had died. The affair is sub judice under the pending court case against Birmingham University under the Health andSafety at Work Act, but despite that Clive Jenkins, leader of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs last week published his copy of the Shooter report—the confidential government report of the committee of inquiry into the incident. Shooter's indictment is a strong one, and Mr Jenkins believed it in “the over-riding public interest” that he publish it. Here Robin McKie of the Times Higher Education Supplement, Mary Lindley, Judy Redfearn and Robert Walgate report.

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