Rapid detection tests for BSE could save cows' lives

September 24, 2004, as reported by just-food.com: A rapid detection test for BSE has been designed and will now undergo field tests according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The test—if approved—would significantly reduce the amount of culling following an outbreak.

The new testing procedure would allow BSE tests to be conducted on live animals. Current testing methods can only be preformed on dead animals and often result in the unnecessary killing of uninfected animals.

EFSA’s Scientific Expert Working Group on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) wants to add a rapid live test to five rapid post mortem tests.

A report on the trial said: “An accurate live animal test might offer the possibility to reduce the number of culled animals after the detection of one positive animal.”

The key, it said, was ensuring any new rapid live BSE test was not “statistically inferior” to post mortem tests.

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