Live cattle BSE test awaits U.S. validation

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jun 27, 2005
by WLJ

Company expects fall introduction.
Confirmatory A quick-test@ also unveiled.
Canadian-based Vacci-Test Corporation recently announced it has developed a diagnostic blood test that shows the presence of brain diseases, including BSE, in live animals. Company officials said USDA researchers will conduct validation studies on their research starting next month, and that the test could be available for use in the U.S. sometime this fall.
Vacci-Test BD is a quick test that determines the presence of a protein marker that is indicative of a variety of brain diseases in cattle, including BSE.
AA single drop of blood will identify the presence of Protein 14-3-3, the marker for brain infections, including BSE,@ said Bill Hogan, president and CEO of Vacci-Test. AThis will facilitate affordable mass testing of live cattle in the field with results readable in less than 30 minutes.@

According to Hogan, if an animal tests positive for a brain disease using the Vacci-Test kit, further post-mortem tests should be conducted to confirm whether the disease is BSE or not.
AThe test itself can detect a wide variety of diseases. If the test is negative, then animals are free of brain infections, including BSE. If the test is positive, further testing is needed to rule out or confirm BSE,@ said Hogan. A This is a good precursory test for producers to use.@
Hogan added that the test uses a hand-held, non-laboratory process that makes it easy and quick to use.
ABecause it is a hand-held kit that doesn= t require a laboratory setting the cost is five to six times less expensive than the other lab-based tests,@ Hogan said. The test reportedly costs around $20.
Vacci-Test conducted two-years worth of testing on 2,000 blood samples that were given by the Veterinarian Laboratories Agency (VLA) in Weybridge, England, which is considered the foremost authority on BSE testing, internationally.
AWe conducted blind vial testing on samples that were collected on animals that were alive but then slaughtered and tested for the BSE in Great Britain. We used our test on samples from animals that were both positive and negative for the disease, and had a 100 percent success rate,@ he said.
That test data has already been filed with food and livestock agencies in France and Canada as well as with the European Food Commission in Brussels. Hogan added last Wednesday that his company is also in the process of filing its data with both the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) and the U.S.= National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, IA, for validation.
AWe are two weeks out from submitting our data to the U.S. and OIE, and the analysis of that data is expected to take another few weeks,@ he said. AIf their (NVSL) review is positive we will then be allowed to market the test in the U.S.@
USDA officials told WLJ last week that in the case of diagnostic tests or kits there isn= t a full-fledged certification or approval process needed, and that a positive review from federal scientists is enough to allow those products to be marketed in the U.S. C