Accurate, Fast TB Test Could Change

US - Scientists in the US have developed an antibody-based test for bovine tuberculosis (bTb).
calendar icon 25 February 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

The new multiplex antibody test is able to detect antibody activity to 25 antigens at one time, something that was previously not possible. The new test may one day replace the current skin and gamma interferon tissue culture tests.

Currently there is no effective treatment for bTb, so early diagnosis is critical. This new test can detect the disease faster and with great accuracy.

Dr William Davis, professor in Washington State University's Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology department said: "Our test can provide results in a matter of hours rather than days with current methods. It also has increased specificity and is highly sensitive, so there are fewer false positives."

Early detection allows sick animals to be removed from the herd more quickly, reducing the spread of the disease.

Dr Davis developed the test along with WSU colleague Mary Jo Hamilton, research associate in the Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology department, and colleagues from Enfer Scientific in Ireland, Fusion Antibodies in Ireland, Ireland’s Department of Agriculture and Food, Central Veterinary Research Lab in Ireland, and Quansys Biosciences in Utah.

Enfer Scientific and Ireland’s Department of Agriculture began a trial of the new bTB test in July 2009, testing over 100,000 cattle. Data is currently been analysed.

Dr Davis told TheCattleSite that a test is ongoing in Chile comparing the new antibody-based test with the tuberculin skin test and gamma interferon assay.

“Dr Davis and his colleagues have made an important advance in diagnostic test development,” says Bryan Slinker, dean of WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Bovine TB can be devastating to dairy and cattle farmers across the globe, so this new method could have far reaching effects. It is also a good example of the breadth of research expertise we can bring to promote global animal and human health.”

There is intent to licence the test in the US, said Dr Davis.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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