UK Government Funds MMR Study

The Department of Health has confirmed it is providing top-up funding for “ongoing” research into the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Scientists at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBCC) have been investigating Dr Andrew Wakefield’s controversial claims of a link between the vaccine and Crohn’s disease and autism.

The new £300,000 funding from the DoH will ensure the work can
continue for the next three years.

Dr Wakefield sparked concerns over the MMR vaccine when he went
public with his findings in 1998, but he began his research years earlier.
The NIBCC has been following Dr Wakefield’s work on Crohn’s disease
and autism since 1993.

Scientists at the NIBCC are collaborating with the paediatric
gastroenterology department at London’s Royal Free Hospital, where Dr
Wakefield worked.

Part of the new research will involve an attempt to reproduce Dr
Wakefield’s results suggesting a link between MMR and autism.
A Department of Health statement said: “This study is part of an
ongoing programme of work.

“Since 1996 NIBSC has been attempting to replicate research findings
on the measles virus, bowel disorders and autism. The methods used at
NIBSC are some of the most sensitive available. They have not been able to
repeat these findings.

“In February, Dr Wakefield was asked to provide his samples for
analysis by other experts and he has yet to respond. This project brings
together a range of experts including Dr Wakefield’s collaborators from
the Royal Free Hospital, who have agreed to provide some samples.

“Our position remains that based on the best available scientific
evidence MMR is the most effective way to protect children against
measles, mumps and rubella.”

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