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Israel Develops its own Anthrax Vaccine


From correspondents in Jerusalem

ISRAEL developed its own anthrax vaccine after conducting secret experiments on hundreds of soldier volunteers.

Giora Martinovich, a former chief medical officer in the military, said that the experiments were carried out in the late 1990s in the face of fears of a possible anthrax attack by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Experiments were carried out on 700 soldiers on a strict volunteer basis and minor side-effects were recorded on four of the human guinea pigs.

As a result, Israel, today has an excellent ability to protect its citizens in the event of an anthrax attack, Mr Martinovich said.

Security sources confirmed research was conducted to improve protection for the Israeli population from strategic threats in which medical research involving human subjects was authorised.

“The soldiers' participation in the research was completely voluntary and was conducted under very thorough medical, ethical and safety supervision,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.

“Soldiers who volunteered to participate were provided with a detailed explanation of the research and had the option to withdraw at any time.”

During the 1991 Gulf war, Israel equipped its population with gas masks out of fear that Saddam's regime might attack with missiles loaded with non-conventional warheads.