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spongiform encephalopathy in young humans

antibody antibody at bii.ch
Wed Nov 22 12:37:19 EST 1995


In article <48eojk$os at news.csus.edu>, mattw at sfsu.edu (MATTHEW FRANCIS
WETTLAUFER) wrote:

> Jorg Kirberg (kirberg at bii.ch) wrote:
> : In article <47v112$b5p at mserv1.dl.ac.uk>, jcosta at pen.gulbenkian.pt
> : (Vasconcelos Costa 385) wrote:
> 
> : > > From: kirberg at bii.ch (Jorg Kirberg)
> : > > To: "bionet.virology mail newsgroup" <bionet-news at dl.ac.uk>
> : > > Subject: Re: spongiform encephalopathy in young humans
> : > > 
> : > > * how can it make sense if man never got it from sheep before ? I would
> : > > think that one still has to wait for more cases before a link
between BSE
> : > > and humans eating whatever from the U.K. cattles can be made.
> : > > jorg
> : > > 
> : > Weak argument! The agent of BSE is no longer the scrapie agent, though it
> : > probably originated from scrapie. Therefore, the modifications from
scrapie
> : > to BSE may have made it infectious for man, even if the scrapie
agent is not.
> : > 
> : > Joao
> : Well, I think my argument is at least stronger than the one that was
made before
> : and was erased from the thread. There was no 'sense', just a guess -
that's all
> : what I complained against.
> 
> : I fully agree to your statement 'the modifications from scrapie to BSE may
> : have made it infectious for man, even if the scrapie agent is not.'
> : But one needs to wait a bit more; just with two cases I would not like
> : to rely on, scientifically spoken.
> 
> Excuse me, but it seems you found more issue with the way I said what I
> said rather than the content.

But the way you said it, might get some non-scientific people to assume
that scientists believe in the BSE / CJD connection. Coming from Germany
I know what this can lead to in the general public. Therefore I might 
have been requesting too much precision. 

> As far as I can see you haven't made any
> serious argument in response to my comments about a possible connection
> between BSE and the two recent cases of CJD in the U.K.  Most scientists
> familiar with prion etiology would not find issue with the comments I
> made.

I hope some do

> If you're not that familiar with the subject,

Indeed, I am not much.

> then maybe drawing a
> connection between BSE and human spongiform encephalopathy would seem
> premature, if not bizarre.

Not bizarre, but premature. That all I wanted to say. Probably I overshot
with the scrapie stuff quite far.

> But most people in this field know that prions
> demonstrate repeatedly a capacity to make species leaps.  

As far as I understood, crossing the species barrier (generally) required
higher doses. But it is not the way, that by crossing one species barrier,
the next will be crossed more easier. Mouse PrP<sc> can cause hamster PrP<sc>,
but the latter have it as difficult to go back to mouse as it was before
to get transmission to the hamster. (Please correct if wrong. This is just
a statement, not a try to blame again).

> As for the two
> cases of CJD, epidemiologically they are a cause for concern as this
> disease carries an incidence rate of one per million and usually arises in
> elderly people.  Both of these patients are teenagers, and both are inthe
> same country.  This may not concern you but it should concern people
> involved in the field.

It concerns me, but I do not think that this is a proof. I am glad the
Germans (and probably other contries) stopped to import UK cattle.

> Please don't criticize me or my points unless you
> have some substantial point to make that can help direct us in this
> discussion.  

Up to now, the discussion will apparently not lead anywhere. As was
pointed out before, any information on these two cases might give some more
reasonable starting point and might lead to some discussion based on
stronger data.

> I would more than welcome any information or data you may
> have that can help enlighten me on this subject, as I claim to know very
> little.  But finding fault with the way I say things seems to me a waste 
> of time.

I didn't say fault and my posting was shurely some way to start discussing.

I have just seen your second mail. I never tried to be personal and never
thought that I wanted to blame anybody for his/her statement. 

Best regards
jorg

kirberg at bii.ch

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