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APHA to expand PCR testing for bTB
PCR tests can return results in three weeks.
The initial rollout has been deemed a success.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is to expand the use of PCR tests to confirm bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infection.

From 14 February 2024, the tests will be used in England, Wales and Scotland on post-mortem tissue samples from cattle that have tested positive for bTB, direct contacts, and privately or compulsory slaughtered or dead animals with an inconclusive skin test result.

The expansion follows an initial rollout which has seen PCR tests used since March 2022 in a limited number of situations, including slaughterhouse cases in cattle and non-bovines, and for domestic pets and exotics submitted to APHA for laboratory investigation.

PCR tests allow APHA laboratories to send results back to livestock keepers in three weeks. In comparison, microbiological culture tests can take up to 22 weeks. APHA hopes that this will allow herd movement restrictions to be lifted sooner than they previously would have been in certain situations.

Ele Brown, UK deputy chief veterinary officer, said: “Timely and reliable testing is essential in halting the spread of this insidious disease in animals, and the initial rollout of the PCR test has shown a tenfold improvement in testing turnaround time.”

David Holdsworth, APHA chief executive, added: “We know waiting for TB results can be a stressful time for farmers so reducing the time for results to be delivered has been a key focus for APHA.

“I am pleased that we have progressed to rolling out the PCR test to cover even more bovine TB samples and cut the time it takes to report these crucial results to livestock keepers to just three weeks.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.