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Northern Ireland’s TB status could be helped by new Actiphage test
Actiphage directly detects and identifies the bacteria responsible for causing TB.

DAERA urged to take all relevant steps to improve current TB testing in Northern Ireland

PBD Biotech, a UK-based diagnostic technology company, has developed a new bovine TB test which could help the TB status in Northern Ireland.

Actiphage, a rapid diagnostic test, directly detects and identifies the bacteria responsible for causing TB infection. This is different from other TB tests which rely on an immune response. Trials of Actiphage have consistently confirmed the test’s ability to detect the bacteria in both milk and blood at less than 10 cells per sample.

Yesterday’s (27 November 2018) Northern Ireland Audit Office Report concluded that all relevant steps to improve the current bovine TB testing regimen in Northern Ireland should be taken by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

In October 2018, DAERA met with PBD Biotech to explore how the Actiphage test could be incorporated into their TB eradication programme.

Commenting on yesterday’s Audit Office Report, Dr Berwyn Clarke, PBD Biotech’s chief executive, said: “It is vital that this hidden reservoir of infection is eradicated; otherwise, all other interventions will have very little benefit. And the unreliability of the tests cast doubt on whether TB-free status is genuinely the case.”

Actiphage has already been included in the UK Government’s ‘exceptional private use’ policy for chronic TB breakdowns in England. This development was guided by Actiphage’s field validation during studies performed by farm animal vet, Dick Sibley. Sibly previously helped to clear a dairy herd in Devon that had been infected with TB by integrating Actiphage into a disease management programme.

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.


Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.