|By SARAH B. AUBREY
CALGARY, Alberta — By third quarter this year, the beef industry in the United States and around the world may have a faster means to diagnose BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).
The new test, developed by a Canadian firm called Vacci-Test, will provide a means to identify the existence of BSE in live animals. Currently, tests for BSE are only done post-mortem on animals suspected of having brain disorders. A major factor in the use of the new test is time.
According to Glenda Kelly in marketing at Vacci-Test, the test will take - at most - 30 minutes from sample collection to confirmation of a potential BSE case.
“This is a highly accurate, quick and inexpensive way to test for BSE,” Kelly said.
She also noted that the test is administered by pricking the animal to get one droplet of blood.
Vacci-test is expected to be reasonable in cost when compared with the post-mortem tests currently available. Company officials believe the price and convenience will make the test useful in many non-laboratory situations such as at a farm, transfer station, sale barn or packing facility. The test is recommended to be administered by an attending veterinarian.
Vacci-test is still working through final trials, but Kelly said the tests would cost less than $20 each.
The October 2005 issue of The Register said, “The test measures immunity and the presence of the disease in both animals and humans through a simple blood test that determines the presence of a protein marker for identifying brain infections.”
Vacci-Test ™ BSE, the official name of the soon to be released test, is the patented process methodology of detecting if a beef animal has the potential to become infected with BSE. According to Vacci-Test representatives, a negative result on the BSE test would indicate that the tested animal had no brain infections and would be thus safe for human consumption.
“The test will be for the world market, not just the U.S.,” said Kelly. “If a country is importing beef from the U.S. there are some end consumers, Japan and Europe certainly being some of them, that will demand beef be tested.”
Kelly added that Vacci-Test expects some countries, such as Japan, to test every beef animal but in the United States that’s not likely.
Even if cattle are not universally tested, there are other key uses for BSE testing.
“Research has said that no one really knows yet what stage of life that BSE actually shows up in the animal,” Kelly said. “So hopefully this test (since done while the animal is living) will help support this research.”
This farm news was published in the May 10, 2006 issue of Farm World.