Britain and Biological Warfare: Expert Advice and Science by Brian Balmer (auth.)

By Brian Balmer (auth.)

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Extra info for Britain and Biological Warfare: Expert Advice and Science Policy, 1930–65

Example text

Tetanus was ruled out on the grounds that treatment was readily available but, opening up the possibility of further investigation, the authors noted ‘whether other 32 Britain and Biological Warfare spore-bearing organisms such as anthrax, would be effective if used this way is impossible to say’. Although Mellanby’s report persisted with a sceptical view of bacteriological warfare, the danger had not been entirely dismissed and still required monitoring. This role could not be fulfilled by the Subcommittee on Emergency Bacteriological Services because it had been passed to the Ministry of Health on the outbreak of war and was promptly suspended.

By the following April, Fildes reported to Hankey that it would be ‘futile’ to simply spray anthrax over German pastures in a random fashion. 48 This was thought to be the most promising line of enquiry and was soon allowed to set the agenda at the fledgling research station. A year into their research, when Fildes was asked by the chairman of the Porton Experiments Committee for 40 Britain and Biological Warfare a list of possible methods for waging biological warfare, he apologized and replied: ‘I am afraid it will consist of only one item.

37 26 Britain and Biological Warfare Sporadic reports of Germany’s bacteriological warfare operations continued to reach the subcommittee. 38 The informant claimed that the ‘spore bacilli are liquefied and filled into glass capsules . . these glass capsules are dropped from aircraft at any altitude . . 41 The particular threat from anthrax against humans and livestock was treated seriously and the subcommittee reported that gas masks would provide some protection, but that the MRC should further investigate the possibility of stockpiling antianthrax serum.

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