Agriculture

For agricultural animals, diagnostic attention has long been focused chiefly on “production” diseases that are not necessarily deadly but have long-term, debilitating economic effects. However, life-threatening diseases like Clostridial Enteritis, West Nile Virus or Virus Encephalitis remain ongoing, significant threats. In addition, there are newly-emerging infectious diseases like neosporosis, an increasingly prominent cause of abortion in cattle. These are conditions for which rapid, portable test systems may prove to be of great importance.

The market for on-site PCR testing is substantial for cattle alone, which number in the many tens of millions in just the United States. Brucellosis, Listeriosis, Blackleg and Bovine Virus Diarrhea are among the more consequential diseases for which earliest possible detection is truly crucial.

Over 100 million hogs are slaughtered annually in the United States. Meanwhile, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), a debilitating or lethal viral disease of hogs, has had a worldwide, epidemic spread in recent years. An on-site PCR test would detect PRRS as soon as infection occurs and permit the timely segregation and treatment of infected animals. The economic ramifications of on-site PRRS detection could be profound, since the disease costs the swine industry about $600 million each year in the United States alone.

Demonstration of the DxNA GeneSTAT to attendees of the United Nations FAO/IAEA Meeting (Second Research Coordination Meeting on the Early and Rapid Diagnosis of Emerging Diseases) in Beijing, China; November 2008.

Attendees of the meeting are in charge of avian influenza in the agricultural and veterinary sectors within their respective countries.