Diagnostics for infectious diseases of livestock

Diagnostics for infectious diseases of livestock

Infectious diseases reduce animal welfare and the quality and yield of animal products, with significant direct costs, impacting public health and reducing land-use efficiency. Reliable and cost-effective diagnostic tools are required to allow vets and farmers to make the informed animal husbandry decisions that lessen the disease burden.

Based on our cutting edge Moduleic Sensing™ technology, we are developing a range of inexpensive molecular diagnostic sensors for identifying specific diseases in live animals at the pen-side. Beginning with bovine viral diarrhoea and Johne’s disease, our system requires no introduction of foreign agents into the animal, relying instead on the diagnostic nucleic acids (DNA and the related molecule, RNA) present in simple samples taken from the animal.

Our goal is an economical and practical means to deliver a range of accurate pen-side diagnostics for multiple infectious diseases in livestock. Through these, we hope to make significant contributions to reducing the disease burden in livestock farming.

If you are interested in trialling our diagnostic devices, we would like to hear from you. Contact us for more information.

The livestock disease challenge

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The cost of livestock infectious diseases is exacerbated by large scale epidemics. For instance, the UK Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in 2001 cost £8 billion. Rare or exotic diseases like Foot and Mouth can be devastating and require diagnostics to be developed quickly to support disease management programmes.

Endemic diseases, such as bovine viral diarrhoea and Johne’s disease, our first diagnostic targets, are also increasingly entering the public consciousness and becoming the target of national eradication strategies as knowledge of their impact improves.

Zoonotic diseases (those that can be passed from animals to humans) have an additional impact, directly affecting consumers. As an example, gastro-intestinal infection by Campylobacter from contaminated food frequently costs over £500 million per year.

Our diagnostics are being designed from the ground up to be adaptable to different diseases in the shortest time possible, so that emerging diseases can be detected and eliminated quickly. They are also designed to be specific, sensitive, easy to use, cost-effective, and fast, allowing infected cattle to be identified on the same day as performing the test.

Development of our diagnostic tests has been supported by SynbiCITE and Innovate UK.

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