ARCHIVE: BSE: Science & research - TSE Diagnostics: Diagnosis of disease and diagnostic tests
The ability to detect and confirm the presence of TSEs is essential for protecting human health and for estimating the prevalence of infection and clinical disease in sheep, goats and cows. Defra’s research on diagnostics has formed a large part of the research programme.
The current aims for research into diagnostics for TSEs are:
- To develop assays that are more rapid at determining TSE infectivity than the conventional mouse bioassay;
- To develop improved post-mortem tests to increase sensitivity, accuracy and speed for the detection of TSE disease;
- To develop a live animal test capable of preclinical diagnosis of TSEs in sheep;
- To develop diagnostic tests that can distinguish between BSE and scrapie strains in sheep.
To support these studies, research is also funded:
- To investigate the correlation of disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) and TSE infectivity in infected animals;
- To produce and store BSE and scrapie-infected tissues from sheep, as has previously been done from cattle, for the development and validation of diagnostic tests.
Areas of work
- Research to develop tests for detecting TSE infection in live animals (ante-mortem).
- Research to develop live animal tests that use surrogate markers (non-PrPSc).
- Development of rapid biochemical tests for TSE infection post-mortem.
- Developing rapid infectivity assays: including mouse bioassays and cell assays.
- Improving and understanding strain typing: e.g. how to differentially detect BSE and scrapie in sheep.
- Determining the nature of the infectious agent of TSE disease.
- Collection of tissues: for the development and validation of diagnostic tests.
Other areas of TSE research supported by Defra
- BSE in cattle
- TSEs in sheep and goats
- TSE persistence in the environment and animal by-products
- Table of all currently active and recently completed projects
- Bibliography of publications from 2003-2007 PDF(62 KB)
Page last modified: 4 September, 2009