Farmers press for new TB test trial in cattle

The company behind the launch of a new “groundbreaking” bovine TB test for camelids is pressing Defra to trial the product in cattle.

The government has approved the new serological (antibody) blood test, called SureFarm Camelids Diagnostics, for use in a voluntary surveillance scheme of bovine TB for the camelid industry.

SureFarm, which co-developed the Enferplex TB test in llamas and alpacas, is preparing an application to submit to Defra for a trial of the product on dairy cattle in the UK.

See also: ‘Groundbreaking’ TB blood test for camelids launched

“We are asking the government to allow us to perform trial work under UK conditions,” confirmed vet Andy Adler, a SureFarm director.

The diagnostic test, which costs about £12 an animal, only requires a single blood sample to be taken for testing of camelids.

The test has also been adapted for use in various species, including cattle, goats, deer, badgers and pigs.

SureFarm has claimed that the test gives “far greater accuracy” than the current tuberculin skin test used for camelids, which is also used for cattle.

In the British Alpaca Society trial the accuracy of the test in camelids was found to be close to 100% specific, with an extremely low risk of the test developing false positives.

Research has shown that the test can also be used to detect bovine TB in milk with similar results.

NFU deputy president and Wiltshire livestock farmer Minette Batters attended the launch of the SureFarm Enferplex test in Dorset last week . She believes the test could help to provide absolute proof of whether an animal is carrying TB or not.

“It’s another tool in the box that we have to look at,” said Ms Batters.

“To have a test that we could use on blood or saliva in wildlife or in cattle – that’s the golden bullet.”