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Naas, Ireland

Aznar I.,University College Dublin | Aznar I.,Wageningen University | Frankena K.,Wageningen University | More S.J.,University College Dublin | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

A long-term research programme has been underway in Ireland to evaluate the usefulness of badger vaccination as part of the national bTB (bovine tuberculosis) control strategy. This culminated in a field trial which commenced in county Kilkenny in 2009 to determine the effects of badger vaccination on Mycobacterium bovis transmission in badgers under field conditions. In the present study, we sought to optimise the characteristics of a multiplex chemiluminescent assay for detection of M. bovis infection in live badgers. Our goal was to maximise specificity, and therefore statistical power, during evaluation of the badger vaccine trial data. In addition, we also aimed to explore the effects of vaccination on test characteristics. For the test optimisation, we ran a stepwise logistic regression with analytical weights on the converted Relative Light Units (RLU) obtained from testing blood samples from 215 badgers captured as part of culling operations by the national Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). The optimised test was applied to two other datasets obtained from two captive badger studies (Study 1 and Study 2), and the sensitivity and specificity of the test was attained separately for vaccinated and non-vaccinated badgers. During optimisation, test sensitivity was maximised (30.77%), while retaining specificity at 99.99%. When the optimised test was then applied to the captive badger studies data, we observed that test characteristics did not vary greatly between vaccinated and non-vaccinated badgers. However, a different time lag between infection and a positive test result was observed in vaccinated and non-vaccinated badgers. We propose that the optimized multiplex immunoassay be used to analyse the vaccine trial data. In relation to the difference in the time lag observed for vaccinated and non-vaccinated badgers, we also present a strategy to enable the test to be used during trial evaluation. © 2014 Aznar et al. Source

Whelan C.,Enfer Scientific | Whelan A.O.,Veterinary Laboratories Agency VLA Weybridge | Shuralev E.,Enfer Scientific | Kwok H.F.,Fusion Antibodies | And 3 more authors.
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology | Year: 2010

Rapid, simple, and accurate antemortem tests for tuberculosis (TB) in cattle need to be developed in order to augment the existing screening methods. In particular, as cattle vaccines are developed, such tests would allow the continuation of test-and-slaughter policies alongside vaccination. Therefore, the development of an assay that distinguishes infected from vaccinated animals (a DIVA test) is an urgent research requirement. In this study, we assessed the performance of a novel multiplex serological test with sera collected from 96 skin-tested animals with bovine tuberculosis, 93 TB-free animals, and 39 cattle vaccinated with Mycobacterium bovis BCG. Our results indicate that the test has a relative sensitivity range of 77.0% to 86.5% at corresponding specificity levels of 100.0% to 77.6%. Comparison with the Bovigam gamma interferon antemortem test revealed that this serology test was significantly more sensitive at specificities above 97.9%, while the Bovigam test was, on average, about 10% more sensitive when the test specificity was set below 97%. Importantly, this serological multiplex assay does not react with sera from BCG-vaccinated calves and is therefore suitable as a DIVA test alongside BCG-based vaccine strategies. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Source

Rhodes S.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency AHVLA | Holder T.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency AHVLA | Clifford D.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency AHVLA | Dexter I.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency AHVLA | And 10 more authors.
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology | Year: 2012

We describe the performance of cell-based and antibody blood tests for the antemortem diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in South American camelids (SAC). The sensitivity and specificity of the gamma interferon (IFN-γ) release assay, two lateral flow rapid antibody tests (Stat-Pak and Dual Path Platform [DPP]), and two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based antibody tests (Idexx and Enferplex) were determined using diseased alpacas from Mycobacterium bovis culture-confirmed breakdown herds and TB-free alpacas from geographical areas with no history of bovine TB, respectively. Our results show that while the sensitivities of the IFN-γ and antibody tests were similar (range of 57.7% to 66.7%), the specificity of the IFN-γ test (89.1%) was lower than those of any of the antibody tests (range of 96.4% to 97.4%). This lower specificity of the IFN-γ test was at least in part due to undisclosed Mycobacterium microti infection in the TB-free cohort, which stimulates a positive purified protein derivative (PPD) response. The sensitivity of infection detection could be increased by combining two antibody tests, but even the use of all four antibody tests failed to detect all diseased alpacas. These antibody-negative alpacas were IFN-γ positive. We found that the maximum sensitivity could be achieved only by the combination of the IFN-γ test with two antibody tests in a "test package," although this resulted in decreased specificity. The data from this evaluation of tests with defined sensitivity and specificity provide potential options for antemortem screening of SAC for TB in herd breakdown situations and could also find application in movement testing and tracing investigations. Copyright © 2012, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Source

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