A dipstick test available in Britain can be modified to detect equine influenza, its manufacturer says. The company, Iceni Diagnostics, has a test that detects and distinguishes between human and avian flu; a slight modification will allow for the rapid, non-invasive test to be used on horses, said Chief Scientist Dr. David Russell.
Co-founder of the company is Dr. Robert Field, an expert in carbohydrate chemistry; he says that 90 percent of infections use carbohydrate recognition to bind with targets in hosts. Each strain of flu has a specific carbohydrate mechanism, which can form a sensor for the disease.
The Iceci Diagnostic test uses sugars and gold nanoparticles to detect influenza; if the virus is present, the particles will stick together and cause the sample to change color. Most influenza tests are protein- and require cold storage, but the sugar test does not; in theory the test could be used worldwide with minimal training and results could be available in seconds.
The creators believe that the test could be used to screen horses before attending races, shows or traveling to ensure they are healthy. Current equine influenza tests require anywhere from a few hours to days to garner results; the Iceni Diagnostics human influenza test needs only 30 minutes to detect the flu.
Iceni Diagnostics is seeking investments to advance the equine flu dip test.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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