Researchers create rapid test for deadly infections in livestock, starting with pigs
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a new form of rapid test to detect infections in farm animals in response to the increasing threat of dangerous outbreaks.
The prototype has proven effective in detecting a devastating diarrheal infection in pigs first identified in 2014 in Canada, and could be adapted to test for other pathogens and in other animals.
The test, created by biochemist Yingfu Li and engineer Leyla Soleymani and their colleagues, uses a small amount of saliva to detect the chemical markers of infection.
It uses technology similar to a form of test that the same research team recently created to detect COVID and other infections in humans. The human test is now coming to market with public research funding and business support.
The animal test, once widely available, is expected to be a valuable tool for identifying and isolating outbreaks on farms, and for reducing the potential for transmission of animal-to-human infections believed to be the origin. of the Covid19 pandemic.
Disease outbreaks often require the euthanization of entire herds, with sometimes serious economic and environmental consequences. Canada is a leading producer of pork, with 14 million pigs on 7,600 farms.
“There’s really a clear need for this technology,” Li said. “There are many reasons why everyone — even those who don’t eat pork — should care about animal infection surveillance.”
The work was published today in the influential German scientific journal Angewandte Chemistry, who identified it as a “very important document” – a specific and rare distinction. The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
The new test could represent significant advances in the concept of “One Health,” the growing understanding of the interrelationships between human, animal and ecosystem health.
Creating such technology is part of the mission of McMaster’s wider Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats.
The researchers designed the aptamer-based test to be portable, accurate and fast, allowing veterinarians and other animal caretakers to quickly identify, isolate and treat infected animals.
The test works by mixing a small sample of saliva with a chemical reagent and applying the mixture to a small microchip reader, which is in turn connected to a smartphone, which displays the results within minutes.
After consulting with experts in the field, the researchers chose to conduct their first animal test for Porcine Epidemic Diarhhea, a serious viral threat that can quickly spread across entire farms.
One of the biggest technical challenges developing the test over the past four years has been to extract the chemical signature of the infection from the thick and often contaminated saliva of pigs, using samples collected by veterinarians.
“The challenge here was that the samples we get from animal swabs are much less pure than what we get from humans,” Soleymani said. “You can’t tell a pig to rinse its mouth before wiping it, so we had to adapt our process to address these challenges.”
No lab needed: new technology can diagnose infections in minutes
Amanda Victorious et al, a DNA barcode based aptasensor enables rapid testing of swine epidemics of diarrheal viruses in pig saliva using electrochemical readout, International edition of Angewandte Chemie (2022). DOI: 10.1002/anie.202204252
Quote: Researchers create rapid test for deadly infections in livestock, starting with pigs (2022, June 10) retrieved June 10, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-rapid-deadly-infections-livestock-pigs .html
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