• Bovine pneumonia test supports on-farm interpretation approach

News & Views

Bovine pneumonia test supports on-farm interpretation approach

Dec 31 2022

Social enterprise Global Access Diagnostics (GADx) has joined a collaboration that will take forward the development of RaDiCal, a one-step molecular lateral flow test to enable rapid diagnosis of pneumonia, particularly in calves. One of the most significant diseases affecting calves, pneumonia costs the UK cattle industry an estimated £50 million a year(1)

Including representatives from the University of Surrey, University of Glasgow, Cardiff University and Westpoint Farm Vets, the consortium is combining expertise in microbiology, veterinary infectious disease and diagnostic test development to create the new test, which can be linked to a mobile phone digital platform for easy interpretation of results. This will enable farmers and vets to diagnose calves on-farm and subsequently take rapid and informed action to facilitate improved disease management and support responsible antibiotic stewardship.

The project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), follows GADx’s participation in a BBSRC Endemic Livestock Disease Priming Partnerships workshop and was driven by challenges outlined by farmers.

Dr Alison Wakeham, Head of Agriculture and Animal Health, GADx, said: “GADx’s expertise in lateral flow technology allows us to support a variety of disease areas. By applying our platform within the livestock industry, we are glad to be able to help improve disease management for one of the most significant diseases affecting calves. Working alongside other experts in this field through the consortium and with the support of BBSRC funding, we are looking forward to progressing the project and bringing the transformative test to market. Being able to accurately diagnose and treat early in the disease cycle is critical to prevent spread and control outbreaks.” 

Professor Mark Chambers, Professor of Microbiology and Disease Intervention, University of Surrey, who is leading the project, commented: “The University of Surrey is delighted to be leading the RaDiCal project and will be using its experience of veterinary infectious diseases and test development within an exciting consortium of other academics and representatives from industry, large animal veterinary practice and farmers themselves at the sharp end of managing calf pneumonia. Through this close partnership and on-going consultation we shall ensure we develop a test that meets the needs of the cattle industry.”

Abi Reader, project partner, dairy farmer, Goldsland Farm, Chair NFU Cymru Milk Board and Chair CHeCS, added: “Calf Pneumonia puts an enormous burden on UK dairy farmers, causing increased veterinary costs and farming losses. RaDiCal will help reduce this impact and support farmers by enabling early intervention and improved calf welfare.”

In support of this research, the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine is looking for veterinary surgeons who work with calves to share their experiences of using diagnostic tests and managing calf pneumonia.

More information online

and (1) Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board more information online

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