More sensitive tests needed for bTB battle

28 Nov 2020

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By Josh Loeb

Defra is being urged to facilitate more sensitive bovine TB (bTB) testing by private vets working on officially TB-free (OTF) farms.

The team behind the Enferplex bTB antibody test held a meeting with Defra in November at which they presented data that they believe show that relying solely on tests of cell-mediated immune responses (the single intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin test, or SICCT, and gamma interferon tests) ‘misses a lot of bTB-infected animals’.

Defra has previously acknowledged that there may be some limitations with the tuberculin skin test.

The Godfray review of the government’s bTB strategy made suggestions about how to improve testing sensitivity and thereby remove infection more quickly. In addition, one of the key elements of Defra’s revised plan for tackling bTB, released earlier this year, was for the targeted deployment of more sensitive diagnostic tests or test combinations (VR, 14 March 2020, vol...