A team of scientists from Ethiopia, India, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA have developed two skin tests which can distinguish between TB-infected and TB-vaccinated cattle.
The new tests will facilitate the implementation of vaccination programmes globally that could considerably reduce the transmission of this infectious bacterial disease from cattle to humans, according to researchers.
They will now have to be evaluated in field trials to a level recommended by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); the safety of the tests will have to be addressed.
The traditional TB skin test shows a positive result for cows that have the disease as well as those that have been vaccinated against it.
Over 20 years
Professor Hewinson – Head of the Centre of Excellence for Bovine TB at Aberystwyth University said: “We have worked for over 20 years on developing vaccines and diagnostic tests for bovine tuberculosis.”
“It would wonderful if either of these tests succeeds in bringing about significant improvements in the control of bovine TB globally.”
“Such a development would represent the culmination of a great deal of work by dedicated and talented scientists from around the world, and a significant step forward in our efforts to control this disease,” he added.
Professor Hewinson noted that these tests have been developed as a consequence of elucidating the genetic composition of the bacteria that causes bovine TB and a considerable number of studies on how cattle respond to TB infection and vaccination.
‘Reduce the burden of this intractable disease;
Professor Martin Vordermeier of the Centre of Excellence for Bovine TB at Aberystwyth University said: “Development of these tests is a crucial step on the long and challenging journey to implement cattle TB vaccine programmes to reduce the burden of this intractable disease.”
“Without such tests, traditional test and slaughter control strategies could not be pursued alongside vaccination, nor could vaccine efficacy and disease prevalence be effectively monitored in vaccinated animals in countries where such control strategies are unaffordable or societally not acceptable,” he concluded. the burden of this intractable disease.”