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New test for major health problem in cattle industry developed

Staff writer |
A new blood test to detect Mycobacteria in blood has been developed by a team at The University of Nottingham.

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The researchers have used this new method to show that cattle diagnosed with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) have detectable levels of the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) in their blood which causes the disease, a major problem in the cattle industry.

The new blood test was developed by a team led by Dr Cath Rees, an expert in microbiology in the School of Biosciences, and Dr Ben Swift from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science.

Rees said, "This test delivers results within 48 hours and the frequency in which viable mycobacteria were detected in the blood of skin test positive animals changes the paradigm of this disease."

The researchers said the test is simple and inexpensive and can detect very low levels of mycobacteria in blood. The group has patented an improved version of a technique developed at the University of Nottingham that delivers results in just six hours.

More recently "proof of principal" experiments have shown that this is even more sensitive. This is currently licenced to a spin out company, PBD Biotech.

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