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From: TSS ()
Subject: VLA LAUNCHES NEW DISCRIMINATORY DIAGNOSTIC KIT to distinguish between BSE and Scrapie in sheep
Date: April 4, 2005 at 10:03 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: VLA LAUNCHES NEW DISCRIMINATORY DIAGNOSTIC KIT to distinguish between BSE and Scrapie in sheep
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2005 11:59:28 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################

Date: April 04, 2005 Time: 17:15


The Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA), the European Community
Reference Laboratory for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies
(TSE), has launched a new Discriminatory Diagnostic Kit to distinguish
between BSE and Scrapie in sheep, which emphasises VLA's commitment to
Defra's sustainable farming and food policy.

Surveillance for prion diseases of small ruminants in the European Union
Regulation 999/2001 (as amended), requires that from 2005 all samples
that are positive on rapid testing should be further screened using an
approved discriminatory method. A small number of methods have been
evaluated and subsequently approved.

VLA has developed one such method, which has been authorised for use,
and involves protein extraction and western blotting technology to
differentiate between bovine spongiform encephalopathy and scrapie in sheep.

This new kit is a modified version of the Prionics - Check technique and
provides a cleaner, more defined signal of the abnormal prion protein
(PrPsc) profile, for analysis.

A homogenised sample of central nervous system tissue from cattle or
sheep is exposed to the enzyme, proteinase K, and PrPsc can be
distinguished from the normal prion protein (PrPc) by protease
resistance and molecular size. This double antibody detection method has
been validated to show there are different molecular weight fragment
sizes, differential antibody affinity and glycoform ratio differences
between BSE and scrapie in sheep.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Veterinary Laboratories Agency provides all sectors of the animal
health industry with animal disease surveillance, diagnostic services
and veterinary scientific research. It is based in Addlestone, Surrey
with fifteen regional laboratories and two surveillance centres covering
England, Scotland and Wales and employs just over 1,400 with an income
of around £97m. It is an Executive Agency of the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) obtaining around 85 - 90% of
its funding from Defra. Its mission is to safeguard public and animal
health by providing all sectors of the animal health industry with
veterinary scientific research, diagnostic services and animal disease
surveillance of farmed livestock and wildlife.

Further information can be found on:

2. Scrapie is a fatal neurological disease of sheep. It has been present
in the national sheep flock for over 250 years, but is not considered to
be transmissible to humans. There is a theoretical risk that BSE could
be present in sheep, masked by Scrapie, although it has not been found
naturally occurring in sheep. The National Scrapie Plan (NSP) for Great
Britain addresses that risk.

3. The NSP involves a voluntary, long-term programme of breeding for
genetic resisitance. It encourages participating flock owners to breed
from and use scrapie resistant sheep.

4. Further information about the scheme is available at .

5. The kit (with sufficient reagents for approximately 50 tests) costs
£1,500, but as an introductory offer the price is being reduced to
£1,250 for six months. The test is being used routinely at VLA in the UK
so, if you would prefer this test to be carried out for you, VLA offers
a service at £130 per sample.

Public enquiries 08459 335577;
Press notices are available on our website
Defra's aim is sustainable development


Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR


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