New test for early TB identification in zoo animals
A new test that can deliver early TB identification in exotics is being discussed at the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) Congress in Birmingham today (9 November).
The Actiphage test, to be outlined by RVC research fellow Dr Ben Swift, offers a new way to detect and manage bTB in zoo animals and wildlife.
Developed by PBD Biotech, the test can identify bTB and other mycobacterial diseases in animals before clinical symptoms emerge. In comparison to culturing mycobacteria, which can take up to 12 weeks, the test can identify the presence of any mycobacteria in animal blood in as little as six hours.
So far, the technology has been successfully applied to blood samples from 17 different species, including deer, goats and badgers as well as exotic animals such as lions, giraffes and camels. Trials have confirmed PBD Biotech’s assay can detect live mycobacteria in blood or milk samples at very high sensitivity, of less than 10 mycobacterial cells per ml of sample.
“The Actiphage detection method provides a major step change in the detection of viable mycobacteria and has the potential to revolutionise the control and understanding of mycobacterial diseases in zoo animals, wildlife and a range of other species,” explained Dr Swift.
“The use of bacteriophage means the test can detect mycobacteria before an immune response is fully developed, giving vets, zoo-keepers and other exotics experts a head-start on the race to catch bTB and other diseases in the hope of preventing the unnecessary cull of protected animals.”