A series of questions about samples of HPAI (H5N1) virus and stated that you do not want any links to science papers from agencies or laboratories outside of Scotland.
As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
Is there a laboratory in Scotland that has actual material samples of purified “HPAI (H5N1) virus”? I do not mean an in silico, computer generated genome sequence. I mean actual material samples of “purified viruses” that were taken from a verified infected animal or human that are available for independent analysis?
As far as the Scottish Government is aware, no there is not, because handling a live purified “HPAI (H5N1) virus would have to be carried out in a category 4 laboratory facility. There are no category 4 approved laboratories in Scotland that could handle this virus. The UK National reference laboratory in Weybridge, England is the designated laboratory under Article 100 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (the Official Controls Regulation) (the OCR) for Avian Influenza. That laboratory is also the World Organisation for Animal Health and Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations International reference laboratory.
Is there a science paper that is also available from a laboratory here in Scotland that lists the exact process carried out into the “isolation of the "HPAI (H5N1) virus”?
Not in Scotland. APHA Weybridge is the national reference laboratory for Avian Influenza. You can contact APHA at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do have these samples can you please tell me, what isolation and purification steps were taken to achieve this?
Again, APHA Weybridge is the national reference laboratory for Avian Influenza. You can contact APHA at email@example.com
If you do not have these do you know of any laboratories that do have them here in Scotland?
No. To handle a purified “HPAI (H5N1) virus a laboratory would need to be a category 4 facility. We do not have any category 4 approved labs in Scotland that could handle this virus. We use the UK National reference laboratory as is a statutory requirement under Article 100 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 (the Official Controls Regulation) (the OCR) for Avian Influenza at Weybridge, which is also the World Organisation for Animal Health and Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations International reference laboratory.
If you do not have, or know of any laboratories in Scotland that hold actual material samples of purified "HPAI (H5N1) virus" then that is of great concern.
APHA Weybridge is the national reference laboratory for Avian Influenza and conducts testing on behalf of Great Britain.
I am asking that you prove beyond all reasonable doubt that there is a disease called "Avian Flu" that is caused by the so-called "HPAI (H5N1) virus" that was purified and that there are actual “material samples” available for independent analysis here in Scotland.
The Scottish Government is satisfied that highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus exists and causes disease in animals. This is supported by decades of peer-reviewed research and analysis, we are satisfied that analysis by Weybridge, which is an International Reference Laboratory for avian influenza recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health and Food and the Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, is robust and reliable.
I do not want any links to science papers from agencies or laboratories outside of Scotland. I am specifically requesting that you provide me with evidence of the isolation and purification of the “HPAI (H5N1) virus” here in a laboratory in Scotland.
We cannot provide this evidence, as all laboratory work you refer to, for samples of HPAI suspects collected in Scotland, takes place outside Scotland.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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