British engineering company Smiths Detection has announced that it is launching a portable detection system which will enable veterinarians to carry out on-site diagnosis of animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth and avian flu.
The new system will be launched to vets at the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians conference in Australia in November 2007, and is expected to be in production in mid 2008.
It will enable vets to diagnose diseases in livestock and birds in the field in less than 90 minutes, and eliminate the requirement of sending the samples for laboratory analysis.
The new portable device comprises of a simple-to-use sample preparation cartridge and a rugged portable instrument. It employs a novel form of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), a well established technique for the detection and analysis of infectious diseases.
Vets will be able to conduct up to five independent tests simultaneously, besides analysing a wide variety of veterinary sample types, by the instrument.
The device can be decontaminated at the location, a critical feature in the control of disease outbreaks.
Smiths Detection is currently working with the Institute for Animal Health (IAH), the global reference centre for foot-and-mouth disease, to develop and validate the system.
"Smiths Detection is actively collaborating with the Institute for Animal Health's global reference laboratory for foot-and-mouth disease to develop an assay to allow the rapid detection of FMD-infected animals in the field," Dr. Donald King, Group Leader of Molecular Characterisation and Diagnostics at the UK Institute for Animal Health (IAH), said.
"This work has involved the development of a suitable assay format which will be validated when Smith's new platform technology is available in the near future. The results of this early pilot work have been presented at international conferences," he added.