See www.bovinetb.co.uk/forum_topic.php?thread_id=46&page=1 and www.bovinetb.co.uk/article.php?article_id=56 for information on the infamous Boxster case. This case has set a legal precedent and it means that any cattle owner who believes that the tests for bTB have not been undertaken properly can challenge through the courts.
The Judge did not accept Defra's expert's argument and came to the conclusion that a test not taken according to the rules is invalid. This sets a legal precedent. Any test not taken according to the rules can now be challenged....
Any farmer who has a problem with bTB tests that were not done according to protocol can scuttle off to court and use Boxster's precendent...Of course a farmer can have a sound legal challenge with a such a test. DEFRA were so desperate not to set a precedent..... instead they have created a dirty great big one.
Other tests - PCR
9 Oct 2011, 5:17 PM
Published August 2011 'Improved specificity for detection of Mycobacterium bovis in fresh tissues using IS6110 real-time PCR' available from www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/7/50
Background Culture of M. bovis from diagnostic specimens is the gold standard for bovine tuberculosis diagnostics in the USA. Detection of M. bovis by PCR in tissue homogenates may provide a simple rapid method to complement bacterial culture. A significant impediment to PCR based assays on tissue homogenates is specificity since mycobacteria other than M. bovis may be associated with the tissues.
Results Previously published IS6110 based PCR diagnostic assays, along with one developed in house, were tested against environmental mycobacteria commonly isolated from diagnostic tissues submitted to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. A real-time PCR assay was developed (IS6110_T) that had increased specificity over other IS6110 based assays. Of the 13 non-tuberculous mycobacteria tested with IS6110_T only M. wolinskyi was positive. Thirty M. bovis infected tissue homogenates and 18 control tissues were used to evaluate the potential for the assay as a diagnostic test. In this small sample, IS6110_T detected 20/30 samples from M. bovis infected animals and 0/18 control tissues.
Conclusions The IS6110_T assay provides a PCR based assay system that is compatible with current diagnostic protocols for the detection of M. bovis in the USA and compliments current testing strategies.
29 Oct 2017, 2:40 PM
Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control:Written question - 107782 Q Asked by Dr David Drew (Stroud) Asked on: 16 October 2017 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control 107782 To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to examine the effectiveness of the Phage and PCR tests for the testing of cattle for bovine TB. A Answered by: George Eustice Answered on: 26 October 2017
Defra has provided financial and other support for research on a number of candidate diagnostic tests for M. bovis, the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle, and continues to do so.
Neither the Phage nor PCR tests are currently validated to OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) level for use in diagnosing TB in bovine species. If and when the manufacturers validate their tests we would consider their official use in TB control.
In exceptional circumstances, non-validated tests may be carried out on bovine species under strict criteria with the approval of the Secretary of State. This allows diagnostic companies to undertake the work required to validate the test.
The PCR test used in this instance is the same as that previously used to detect M. bovis in badger faeces and a comprehensive assessment of the PCR test (Defra study SE3289) indicated that this PCR test was not suitable for use in TB surveillance activities in wildlife. Until the PCR test is validated for use in cattle it is difficult to determine the percentages of truly TB-infected and TB-free animals that are correctly identified by this method.
According to Nottingham Trent University scientists are edging nearer to a rapid test for bovine tuberculosis.
Scientists are developing a portable testing device which would be capable of detecting bovine tuberculosis in cattle in just a matter of minutes. The major study, involving experts at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), would mean that appropriate measures could be taken more quickly to limit the spread of the infectious disease – which is one of the biggest challenges facing the cattle farming industry.
Currently it can take up to a week to identify bovine TB, following two separate skin tests by a veterinary physician and further analysis in a laboratory.
But the new £1.1 million collaborative study between CompandDX Ltd (NTU), Public Health England, Sapient Sensors Limited and the Centre for Process Innovation Ltd., could mean a rapid 'point of care' device – about the size of a smartphone – could be used by veterinarians to give an almost instant diagnosis from a simple blood test at farm sites.
This means, if cattle are infected, crucial decisions to vaccinate, isolate or cull a herd could be made early before the disease spreads or worsens. The device could also be used to provide important reassurance to farmers about the health of their cattle, before they sell for milk or beef.
In addition, reducing the levels of bovine tuberculosis in the environment could help to resolve TB issues in badger populations, potentially reducing the need for culling, the scientists say.
The three year study, being co-funded by the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, involves identifying 'biological markers' – or molecules – in the blood, which indicate the presence of bovine TB and which could help spot the disease from a blood test rather than the time consuming skin test currently in use.
As well as providing a rapid, accurate diagnosis, the new system would be far more cost effective than the current system - with no costly repeat testing, just one visit from a vet, and the potential to reduce the amount paid out in compensation to farmers by correctly identifying infected cattle.
From January to August last year more than 22,000 cattle were slaughtered because of bovine TB – and the disease has cost the UK taxpayer £500 million over the last ten years.
Bovine TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), which can also infect and cause TB in badgers, deer, goats, pigs, dogs and cats, as well as other mammals, including humans.
Because it is a 'notifiable disease' - so required by law to be reported - the new system would automatically feed information about tested cattle back to a central database, providing all the relevant data about the specific cattle tested.
Professor Graham Ball, a scientist in the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University, said: "The current process for testing cattle is slow and expensive, but this technology would allow us to address each of those problems. Bovine tuberculosis is a growing challenge, the disease can spread quickly and easily in the time it currently takes to get a definitive result.
"Our system would provide major benefits to farmers in terms of herd management and isolation of bovine TB cases. And the economic benefits to the country, specifically through the reduction of testing, analysis and compensation costs are potentially huge."
PHE has extensive experience in the design and evaluation of diagnostic tests and being a part of this consortium adds to the effort that PHE is focusing on the problem of TB re-emergence as a public health issue.
USDA scientists with the Agricultural Research Service are striving to improve tests and vaccination methods to overcome obstacles that prevent the eradication of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. At the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa - scientists are developing better tests to help producers identify and remove TB-infected cattle from herds and keep healthy animals. Veterinary Medical Officer Ray Waters says the tuberculin cattle skin test has helped eradication efforts - but has drawbacks - like a 72-hour waiting period for results. Interferon-gamma release tests require live white blood cells that must be processed quickly. Waters says traditional serum tests would be more convenient and less expensive. Scientists have demonstrated that improved antigens - substances that cause the immune system to produce antibodies against foreign bacteria - are crucial in developing effective serum tests. The findings were instrumental in the recent development of a new serum TB test. Microbiologist Tyler Thacker - also collaborating on this effort at USDA - has developed another type of test based on polymerase chain reaction analysis of DNA. This new test detects the causative agent of bovine TB in fresh tissues. USDA says the test is quicker, accurate and helps distinguish between the causative agent of bovine TB and environmental mycobacteria that can cause false-positive results.
Info from: www.kmjnow.com/09/10/13/Bovine-TB-Research-Shows-Promising-Resul/landing.html?blockID=711987&feedID=806