PBD Biotech Ltd. has developed a novel phage-based technology, which is able to sensitively detect the presence of live bacteria in blood or milk.
Its patented Actiphage products include a blood test, to aid early detection of bovine TB and Johne’s disease, and a milk test for quality assurance of dairy products. The technology is able to deliver results within six hours. As opposed to the number of weeks it takes current detection methods.
Unlike the existing gold-standard tests for mycobacterial diseases, which analyse the immune response of the animal, PBD Biotech’s Actiphage test directly measures the presence of live bacteria.
Originally developed for human tuberculosis, Actiphage has been refined for veterinary and food processing applications. Actiphage has been successfully used to detect live mycobateria in raw milk, pasteurised milk, powdered infant formula, cheese and in the blood of infected animals. The highly sensitive and specific test has been applied to samples from 17 species so far, including cattle, camelids and exotic animals.
In May 2018, the test was approved by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) for Exceptional Private Use by cattle farmers suffering chronic TB breakdowns in England. Other international trials are underway.