Homeland Security picks a diagnosis kit for Foot and Mouth Disease

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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WASHINGTON — The US Dept. of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) announced the licensing of a rapid-response Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) diagnostic kit by the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Veterinary Biologics. 

Developed by a research group of federal agencies, academics and animal health industry scientists, this is the first licensed FMD diagnostic kit that can be manufactured on the US mainland, crucial for a rapid response in the event of a FMD outbreak. 

“This assay will be a pivotal tool for US emergency preparedness and response and for ensuring the resiliency of US animal agriculture, a critical infrastructure” said DHS Under Secretary (Acting) William N. Bryan.  “Successfully bringing this test to market exemplifies the type of public-private partnership among DHS S&T, Centers of Excellence, government labs, and commercial industry necessary to support US agriculture and global FMD control and eradication programs.”

The test can be used for cattle, swine and sheep, and will be commercialized and sold by Veterinary Medical Research and Development (VMRD), Inc., a US manufacturer of veterinary diagnostics.

FMD virus is highly contagious in cloven-hoofed animals, including: cattle, pigs, small ruminants. Globally, FMD has a significant impact on livestock trade economics and extensive regulatory programs exist in the US to facilitate identification of, response to, and control of the disease.

This rapid, specific, and sensitive FMD diagnostic test was developed and validated over a seven-year period by scientists and the following groups around the country:

  • Texas A&M Univ. and the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases in College Station, Texas
  • DHS S&T’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center
  • USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit
  • A cooperative research and development agreement with VMRD, Inc.

 

Funding was provided by the Agriculture Defense Branch of DHS S&T’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, Chemical and Biological Defense Division and DHS S&T Office of University Programs.

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