Surrey-based biotech company Proteome Sciences Plc revealed yesterday [Wednesday] that it has been awarded the first patent in the world on its test to detect the presence of mad cow disease (BSE).

The test is now covered by an Australian patent and group CEO Christopher Pearce explained to Reuters: “This is the first time there have been any patents issued in relation to the detection of variant CJD and BSE in blood.

“Australia happens to be the first patent to come out. Patents applications in Europe and the US are also well underway.

“We are now actively talking to prospective partners who will bring commercial tests to the marketplace,” Pearce added, revealing that this should be done in around 12 to 18 months.

Proteome has said that the test kit could be used by scientists to screen national blood banks for the human form of made cow disease, vCJD, and to diagnose the disease in humans or animals.