SureFarm providing Bovine Tuberculosis Diagnostics using the Enferplex test to the animal health industry

Cattle Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Test

Introduction to the Bovine Tuberculosis Test (Enferplex Test)

The Enferplex TB Test is a serological assay which identifies the presence of antibody to Mycobacterium bovis, the causal agent of for bovine Tuberculosis (bTB). It has been adapted for use with various species, including cattle. The test detects the presence of antibodies to bTB by use of individual antigens – antigens are parts of the Mycobacterium which generate antibodies which then bind to the antigen.  There are seven different TB antigens in the test and these are placed separately as individual spots on the surface of the test well, see figure 1. If antibody to bovine TB is present in the blood sample, then it will bind to the relevant antigen and the resultant reaction produces a luminescent reaction, the light from which can be measured and quantified as a number.

Bovine Tuberculosis Testing & Diagnostics

It is currently illegal for us to perform testing of cattle in the UK.  The following briefly outlines the current position in relation to the science and where we see potential for use of the Enferplex test in cattle.

Enferplex has been used extensively in cattle and published work from studies in Ireland and UK shows that it:

  • Has high sensitivity and specificity for detecting animals with lesions1, 2
  • Can detect animals which are missed by the SICCT test3
  • Can act as a DIVA test to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals2

We believe that Enferplex could play a useful role in helping control TB in cattle in the UK when used in conjunction with the SICCT.

In order to gain further experience of the test under UK conditions we aim to trial its use in TB-infected and non-infected herds. We are currently discussing this trial with DEFRA.

1. Whelan et al, 2008. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 15, 1834–1838

Multiplex Immunoassay for Serological Diagnosis of Mycobacterium bovis Infection in Cattle

2. Whelan et al, 2010. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 17, 813-817

Performance of the Enferplex TB Assay with Cattle in Great Britain and Assessment of Its Suitability as a Test To Distinguish Infected and Vaccinated Animals

3. Whelan et al, 2011. J Vet Diagn Invest 23: 499

Use of a multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to detect a subpopulation of Mycobacterium bovis-infected animals deemed negative or inconclusive by the single intradermal comparative tuberculin skin test