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If terrorists attack London with biological weapons some at least will be prepared. Twenty secondary pupils spent a day planning for such an incident while visiting the Science and Technology Research Unit at Sussex University, organised by the Specialist Schools Trust.

Experts took on the role of Home Office while the pupils played prime minister, cabinet members and police. The pupils, who came from schools all over the south of England, quickly established that an outbreak of smallpox must have been introduced deliberately, because the virus was only held in research labs in Russia.

Kai Vacher of the Specialist Schools Trust said:"The Department for Transport was adamant about closing the main roads out of the city and shutting down the docks so the disease wouldn't spread. But the DTI was worried that would cost the economy millions. The prime minister was most concerned about how it would all appear to the media."

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