Molecular Diagnostic Methods Help Identify Disease In Livestock

By Kim Lewis, VOA News

Scientists have developed technology that can be carried to the field in a laptop suitcase to diagnose diseases in animals on the spot. The joint division of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are using molecular diagnostic methods, once only available in laboratories. Dr. Hermann Unger, Technical Officer of the IAEA’s Animal Production and Health Section, explained to VOA how the devices were developed.

“Three groups in parallel developed tests as a key parameter for avian influenza and came up with three different solutions. We now have three basically competing systems for molecular diagnostics in the field, which means you just pack a small suitcase, a small box in your car. You drive to the location where a case is suspected. You take a sample. In two of the cases you just take blood or a nasal swap, insert that into a cartridge, and insert the cartridge into a reader. An hour later, you have results, because the instrument will tell you if the sample was positive for avian influenza or river fever or [some other illness],“ explained Unger.

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