The Government payment of £589,356.89 to Bernard Matthews is not what the British people should be worried about.

The worrying factor is that, after considerable and extensive investigations, the Government, through DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), cannot find out the source or where the virus came from in the first place.

This, if nothing else, clearly shows that there are major chinks in the armour where bird flu is concerned, and where it could be an easy exercise for the killer disease to enter our shores.

This situation is what our institution is highly concerned about, and not for this country alone, but for the world at large.

These chinks will be the conduit through which this virus does its worst.

We are so concerned that Professor Ken Shortridge, one of our fellows, is heading up a global response to the bird flu threat, as he knows more about this killer disease than anyone in the world.

He was the person who first identified in Hong Kong in 1997 that the virus had mutated and entered the human chain.

The problem is that the Government is not taking the matter seriously enough, and that the so-called bird flu vaccines are not a cure, as many people may think. Far from it, as mutations of the virus make a vaccine almost impossible to track and create fast enough to be of any saving benefit.

Global education is our only hope, therefore, as vaccines will be ineffective if ever the human strain of the virus bites.

Dr David Hill, Chief executive, World Innovation Foundcation, Bern, Switzerland.

UK Postal Address: P O Box A60, Huddersfield, HD1 1XJ.