A new rapid bovine TB test that is 98pc accurate and has the ability to identify positive specimens on site within 10-15 minutes is set to be launched in the next year.
Welsh diagnostics company iOmics claims its new test for bovine TB will accurately identify the presence of the disease on site without the need for laboratory equipment. Named bTBscreen+, the test is based on lateral flow technology, allowing anyone in the herd management and supply chain to use it for frequent and routine screening of the disease.
The new tests have been made possible through the discovery of biomarkers by scientists working at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.
The project has been supported by funding of around £2m and iOmics is now seeking an additional £0.5m to help bring the product, which is expected to retail at £40-£50 (€47-€59), to market within the next nine to 12 months,
Speaking with the Farming Independent, iOmics co-founder Ian Bond said: “These new biomarkers have improved the sensitivity and specificity of our test. It is 98pc accurate and will identify TB in a beast in under 15 minutes.
“iOmics is the owner of the Intellectual Property obtained from Aberystwyth University’s research and will license this out to lateral flow manufacturers. We expect each test to retail for in the region of £40-£50.”
The Comparative Intradermal Tuberculin Test (CITT) is currently in use in Ireland. In a report from 2021, Ireland’s TB Scientific Working Group said that lateral-flow assay (LFA) devices offer many advantages since they are easy to perform, stable at room temperature and are not logistically demanding.
LFAs are currently not approved by either the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) or the EU. Previous TB LFAs have been biassed towards detecting late infection.
“Aberystwyth University has done an awful lot of work with this test on farm and we’re happy with its performance,” said Mr Bond. “I’m very confident approval will be granted for our test from the relevant authorities.”
iOmics claims the test can also be used with other animals at risk from bTB infection, such as badgers and deer.