The UK government has been accused of “negligence” by a leading British scientist for not fortifying food as a way to protect against a possible flu pandemic.
Paul Clayton, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, believes that the population could prepare to fight a flu virus if the yeast extract beta glucan was added to flour in order to strengthen the immune system.
He said: “I’m a pharmacist. I don’t care what you take this in. I’m just interested in getting this into as many people as possible.”
Mr Clayton added that two states – including one EU member state – were considering adding beta glucan to food already but would not name either.
He added: “I think the government’s failure to even consider this so far represents public malpractice or at least negligence.”
In light of the recent bird flu outbreak, Mr Clayton said that it was vital that people have strong immune systems as bird flu could kill even healthy people by provoking such a strong immune reaction that the body destroys its own lung tissue.
Studies in 2004 showed that piglets who were given beta glucan for three days before exposure to a flu virus suffered fewer microscopic lung lesions.
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