According to Spanish and US scientist they have found a new technique to detect human form of mad cow disease in blood samples.
As of now they were successful in detecting infection in hamsters before the animal shows signs of illness. But further research is needed to identify the disease in humans. A test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) detection is needed because this disease appears to have been transmitted by blood transfusions.
Dr Paula Saa and colleagues from the University of Texas identified three cases in which a variant-CJD associated with a blood transfusion has caused the disease. Hence the Department of Health has asked all recipients of blood transfusions not to donate blood as a precautionary measure to protect the blood supply from vCJD. This is because as of now there is no test to detect vCJD from blood samples. But now Dr Saa's team uses a new technique that detects prion proteins.
They are infectious agents which cause vCJD. Prior to this test prion concentrations can be detected in the brain and some lymphoid tissue when the patients show symptoms of the disease. But now the new technique called protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PCMA) amplifies the quantity of prion proteins in any sample taken from the body. Out of the 38 infected hamsters tested none showed false-positive results. Further studies are needed to modify this technique to be used in humans.