Biotechnology company Vacci-Test Corporation has announced that a simple, reliable and economical diagnostic tool for the detection in live cattle of infectious brain diseases, including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy , will soon be available for use on farms and ranches in Canada and around the world.

Designed for the measurement of immunity and the presence of infectious diseases in both humans and animals, patented Vacci-Test allows for the precise evaluation of the immune status very quickly through a simple blood
test. Vacci-Test(TM) BD can determine the presence of a protein marker which identifies brain infections such as BSE in cattle.

"A single drop of blood will identify the presence of Protein 14-3-3, the marker for brain infections, including BSE," says Bill Hogan, president and CEO. "This will facilitate affordable mass testing of live cattle in the field with results readable in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore, Vacci-Test platform can diagnose any kind of bacteria-viruses based infectious diseases in livestock and humans. To this end, we now have 6 additional Vacci-Test in vitro diagnostic products ready for commercialization," said Hogan.

"Vacci-Test represents a significant scientific and medical breakthrough as it has the in-field ability to detect a marker in the blood that is present when an animal or human has an infectious brain symptom, such as BSE in cattle or new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans," said Dr Jacques Mayet, co-inventor, who has been working on the procedure platform in Lyon, France since 1996. "The breakthrough came when live BSE sera was made available to us for testing by both the AFFSA of France, and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, England that is managed by Danny Matthews," said Mayet.

The Scientific Review of the last 2-years test results has been continuously filed with the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA), the European Food Safety Authority in Brussels, and the VLA. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada and the Alberta Government have also received updated test results. The next step is to transfer all of the final results to EFSA and CFIA. These agencies will then follow our protocols in order to confirm the internal lab results for validation. The EFSA in Brussels will then add the test to their approved list. The validation procedure will allow the test to be used in the market place to guarantee the safety of their cattle. Upon Validation, Vacci-Test can then go to the market, which is expected this autumn.

"The implications for the livestock industry are extensive. Soon producers will be able to certify that their cattle are free of brain infections such as BSE. We believe that Vacci-Test will provide the required assurance to allow cattle to be exported across any border," says Hogan.

At present, BSE can only be detected post-mortem, in a laboratory procedure that takes much longer to identify and is significantly more expensive than the "pre-mortem" Vacci-Test.

"We forecast that Vacci-Test BD, at a cost of approximately CA$20 (US$17) per animal, will be available in North America for purchase by the fall of 2005," said Hogan.