27/10/2006

E.coli bacteria 'tested as biological weapon'

E.coli bacteria was secretly tested as a possible biological weapon by defence scientists in the 1960s, according to a Ministry of Defence 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.

(KMcA)


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