Novel reagent attracts international interest

polybatics-logoHot on the heels of their successful 2014 livestock field trials, The Factory resident PolyBatics has announced an international collaboration to further assess their bovine TB skin test reagent Assign-bTB as a potential tool in the global fight against the disease.

PolyBatics’ unique polymer particle, or biobead, technology has been central to the development of the novel reagent, which is designed to eliminate false positives and speed up the TB vaccination process in cattle and deer herds.

Five groups, including PolyBatics, New Zealand’s TBFree (OSPRI) and AgResearch, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), are each testing the reagent and sharing their respective results.

“We have already tested Assign-bTB in more than 30,000 cattle and 3,000 deer,” says Tracy Thompson, PolyBatics chief executive officer. “The initial results have been very encouraging and now we are joining in this international effort to better evaluate the larger potential of this new diagnostic reagent.”

Assign-bTB can also be used for TB diagnostic blood tests and for human TB skin tests, as well as skin tests for TB in livestock. Closely related to human and avian tuberculosis, bovine TB has been greatly reduced within the developed world; however, some wildlife in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada are still affected, thus putting livestock at risk.

PolyBatics was created to commercialise biobead technology created by Professor Bernd Rehm at Massey University. For more information, visit the PolyBatics website.

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