In a press release published on July 27, the CNRS informs that research and experiments relating to prion diseases are suspended for three months in all public laboratories in France. In question ? “Awareness of a possible new case of a person with Creutzfeldt-Jakob1 disease who worked in a prion research laboratory”, highlights the press release.
As a reminder, prion diseases are rare encephalopathies. The number of cases is estimated at between 100 and 150 per year in France. They cause a form of dementia, recalls Inserm, and neurological failures without any remission being possible, until causing the death of the patient. The protein that causes this type of disease is called “prion”. There are three: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), fatal familial insomnia (FFI) and Gerstmann-Straüssler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS). It is this same pathological protein that causes the so-called mad cow disease.
An accident already at the origin of contamination
In this case, the person declared Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), after working on prions. It is not yet known to date whether it is an infectious, genetic or sporadic form (without exposure to prions). But it has already happened thata person dies following a laboratory accident, in 2019, after being injured in 2010 at his workplace and having contracted the disease.
While this research is essential in terms of public health, work has been suspended in order to assess the need to put in place a new safety protocol for teams of scientists.
Source: Provisional suspension of work on prions in French public research laboratories, CNRS, July 27, 2021
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