03 July 1998
ADAS buys 300 steer calves for BSE trial

By Jeremy Hunt

A TOTAL of 300 steer calves, bought from dairy farmers throughout the UK over the past six months, is being used for a major new BSE diagnostic trial that is expected to last at least five years.

The calves have been split into three groups of 100 at ADASs Drayton research centre, Stratford-on-Avon. Two groups will be dosed orally with different strengths of a BSE infection, the third will remain as a control.

MAFF said: “Cattle have been purchased by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for a MAFF funded project to provide cattle tissues to authenticate diagnostic tests for BSE. The cattle will be given BSE, and body fluids and tissues will be collected from them at various stages of infection and under sterile conditions at post-mortem.

“The project is of high priority to assist in the development of a diagnostic test for BSE. These materials will be available to researchers in the UK and for use by laboratories throughout Europe. They may also be of interest outside Europe.”

A spokesman for ADAS Drayton said the trial would last for five to six years and cattle from the two infected groups would be slaughtered at appropriate times during that period.

“We will be looking to see how BSE travels around the body of the animal and assessing the different stages of incubation.”

  • For this and other stories, see this weeks Farmers Weekly, 3-9 July, 1998

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