Smiths detect foot-and-mouth

Smiths Detection has launched a portable detection system to enable veterinarians to diagnose animal diseases such as foot and mouth and avian flu on-site within 90 minutes.

The technology uses a Linear After The Exponential (LATE) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) developed by Professor Larry Wangh’s laboratory in Brandeis University, US. LATE PCR is able to identify multiple types of bacteria or virus in a single test and determine the strain of an individual infection.

‘This breakthrough with Brandeis University moves our biological detection and identification activities into an important commercial market,’ said Stephen Phipson, group managing director for Smiths Detection. ‘We are putting laboratory science into the hand of vets. Together we will play a vital role in the future detection and management of animal disease outbreaks.’

The device uses a preparation cartridge and portable instrument making it easy to use in the field as no setting up is required between each test. It can test up to five samples simultaneously and reduces the time taken to send samples to a laboratory, allowing vets to take swift action.

The initial focus of the technology will be on identifying foot-and-mouth disease and avian flu with tests for other diseases to be made available in the future.

Smiths has previously supplied field PCR systems for bioterrorism applications.