USDA has set out to determine the prevalence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States. The goal is to test 400,000 animals during the next 12-18 months. To help with the task they've begun to enlist rapid test providers to make quick results available. California-based Bio- Rad Laboratories, Inc. and IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. tests have been approved to help in the increased surveillance measures.
Bio- Rad Laboratories has been for use in the National Veterinary Service Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa and all the NVSL network laboratories as part of the USDA's newly enhanced BSE testing program.
"We are pleased that our test has met the stringent requirements of the USDA qualification process," says Brad Crutchfield, Bio-Rad's Vice President of Life Science. "Bio-Rad has extensive experience working with more than 500 labs in 25 countries around the world that screen for BSE. We are well prepared to provide the USDA with the same high level of support that our other customers receive."
To date, the company has provided more than 22 million BSE tests to laboratories throughout Europe and Japan. Independent field studies have shown the Bio-Rad BSE test to have the highest level of sensitivity and specificity of any rapid screening test available. The test detects the presence of the resistant form of prion protein, or PrPres, linked to BSE and can identify these prions at extremely low levels. The Bio-Rad test can produce results in just four hours.
Bio-Rad's CWD tests have been used on 47,000 dear and elk in the past 18 months in Colorado and 8,000 mule and white tailed deer in Nebraska.
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. has received approval from the USDA to produce and sell the IDEXX HerdChek BSE Antigen Test Kit to USDA-approved laboratories. HerdChek, a rapid test for accurate postmortem detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), detects the presence of the abnormal proteins believed to cause BSE.
The IDEXX HerdChek BSE Antigen Test Kit utilizes the same Seprion technology as the previously approved IDEXX HerdChek Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Antigen Test Kit. IDEXX has also submitted this test to the European Union (EU) for validation and approval.
Quentin Tonelli, IDEXX vice president, says, "We are excited about the opportunity to offer our customers a more convenient and efficient method of BSE testing at a time when testing volumes are set to increase. This test, with simplified sample preparation, allows labs to choose either a manual version that requires little additional equipment or an automated version for high volume applications."