Agricultural science: Rapid test to detect de...
Agricultural science

Rapid test to detect deadly infections in livestock

Imago / Wavebreak Media Ltd
“The challenge here was that the samples we get from animal swabs are much less pure than what we get from humans,” engineer Soleymani said. “You can’t tell a pig to rinse its mouth before swabbing it, so we had to adapt our process to accommodate these challenges.”
“The challenge here was that the samples we get from animal swabs are much less pure than what we get from humans,” engineer Soleymani said. “You can’t tell a pig to rinse its mouth before swabbing it, so we had to adapt our process to accommodate these challenges.”

CANADA, Hamilton. Researchers at McMaster University have developed a new form of rapid test to detect infections in farm animals, responding to the rising threat of dangerous outbreaks. The portable test will help animal caretakers to identify, isolate and treat infected animals quickly.

The prototype has been proven effective in detecting a devastating diarrheal infection in pigs, first identified in Canada in 2014, and can be adapted to test for other pathogens and in other animals, the researchers claim.


The test, created by biochemist Yingfu Li and engineer Leyla Soleymani and their colleagues, uses a small saliva sample to detect the chemical markers of infection. It employs technology similar to a form of test the same research team recently created to detect COVID and other infections in humans. The human test is now moving toward the marketplace.

The researchers expect the testing to be a valuable tool for identifying and isolating outbreaks in farm settings and limiting the possibility of animal-to-human transmission of infections.

The work has been published in the influential German science journal Angewandte Chemie. The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

The new test could be a significant advancement in the concept of “One Health,” the growing understanding of the interconnection between human, animal and ecosystem health.

The test works by mixing a small saliva sample with a chemical reagent and applying the blend to a small microchip reader, which is in turn attached to a smartphone, which displays the results in minutes.

Source: McMaster University

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