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Wales gives green light for ‘novel’ TB tests

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By Adele Waters & Josh Loeb

The Welsh government has given the go ahead for the use of unvalidated tests on cattle herds affected by TB breakdowns.

Last week, approval was given for vets to use of the interferon gamma test, the IDEXX ELISA antibody test and the Enferplex (bovine serum) test.

The decision means that these so-called ‘novel’ tests can be used privately in exceptional circumstances as a supplementary approach to managing problem herd breakdowns, subject to some terms and conditions (see box).

Rules for novel testing

A clear plan must set out:

1. What animals will be tested

2. What type of samples will be taken (eg, blood, milk, faeces, bulk milk), what test(s) will be used, and when

3. What will be done with the results

4. How the Welsh government and the APHA will be kept informed as required

5. Additional diseases in the herd, eg, Johnes/bovine viral diarrhoea, which may be affecting the TB status of bovine …

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