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in-depth story on conflicting tests

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foodmarket

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Thanks --

One of the interesting things in researching the story is depending on who you asked, the sample had from a 95.0% to a 99.9% chance to test positive IHC after reacting to two ELISA Bio Rad field tests.

And then the USDA said it tested the sample with IHC twice in a row and cleared it negative; if the sample is NOT aytpical BSE then the chances of it now being confirmed positive are in the billions....

Of course if it's atypical BSE the IHC test would miss it.

Don't know why it wasn't immediately sent for further testing; at least the OIG forced it eventually.
 

TimH

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Here is another question.... The Dec./03 Washington State cow was tested,almost immediately, using the Western Blot test. Why was the Nov./04 Texas cow not tested,using the Western Blot test, until now?? And only now after the insistance of the Inspector General??? :???: :???:
 

foodmarket

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As far as I know there have been 188,000 BSE cases total worldwide... and 183,000 of those were in England...

But atypical BSE has only been found in Italy, France, and Japan... so necessarily it is a small minority of worldwide cases and thus not "english BSE" from the first cow to catch scrapie.
 

Mike

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TimH said:
Here is another question.... The Dec./03 Washington State cow was tested,almost immediately, using the Western Blot test. Why was the Nov./04 Texas cow not tested,using the Western Blot test, until now?? And only now after the insistance of the Inspector General??? :???: :???:

I think? this story may be wrong Tim. I don't believe the US had purchased the Prionics system at the time of the Washington cow. I don't think they had approved any rapid tests whatsoever. Although the Prionics Check Western is not as fast as the Bio-Rad it is still considered a rapid. The faster Prionics is an Elisa (Enzyme Linked Immunoassay) Which is used for screening like the Bio-Rad.
 

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It's my understanding that the USDA did not have the Prionics Western blot right away in Dec 03, but whenever they did get it, they only needed 1 mg of brain to confirm the BSE as opposed to 20 mg in this case
 

TimH

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DR. CLIFFORD: "Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And yes, we're confident in the results of actually both of these tests. The IHC was negative for this sample. Actually the Western Blot test, if you go back to the December cow that was found from Canada the Western Blot that was run on that particular sample we used one milligram of tissue to run that test and was found to be a very strong positive.

(cut and pasted from the "Full Transcrript......." thread below.

Pretty much right from the horses mouth, Mike!!!
 

Mike

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TimH said:
DR. CLIFFORD: "Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And yes, we're confident in the results of actually both of these tests. The IHC was negative for this sample. Actually the Western Blot test, if you go back to the December cow that was found from Canada the Western Blot that was run on that particular sample we used one milligram of tissue to run that test and was found to be a very strong positive.

(cut and pasted from the "Full Transcrript......." thread below.

Pretty much right from the horses mouth, Mike!!!
I stand corrected! Your question is a valid point indeed! Thanks
 

TimH

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Mike -"I stand corrected! Your question is a valid point indeed! Thanks"

Well you're welcome, but I wasn't trying to make a point.....I was asking a question!!! :)
Here's another one.....If they confirmed the Dec/03 cow using only 1 MILLIGRAM of tissue, why are they concerned that the 12 GRAMS of tissue ,that they still have from the November cow ,may not be enough to work with???? :???:
 

Murgen

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I believe if you check into it also, the cow in Washington, went to Weybridge and the results were returned in a couple of days, and over Christmas time. Why will it take two weeks on this one?
 

Mike

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U.S. approves another test for mad cow
Swiss firm Prionics gets OK for more precise method
By Jon Bonné
MSNBC
Updated: 4:43 p.m. ET April 8, 2004

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved two mad cow tests made by Swiss company Prionics, the firm's officials said Thursday.

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The approval also clears the way for U.S. researchers to use the so-called Western blot method of testing, which is often thought to provide more sensitive results than some other tests.

The USDA also approved Prionics' Check LIA test, which is similar to a protocol known as Elisa testing. Prionics' tests will be distributed in the United States by Roche Diagnostics.

Both the Elisa and Western blot techniques work by looking for malformed prions, or specialized proteins, that are the signature of mad cow and related diseases.

Researchers take a sample of an animal's brain and destroy all the normal prions, leaving behind any abnormal ones, which give away the presence of the disease. The Western blot provides a more detailed "signature" of these abnormal proteins, though it often takes longer to process.

In recent weeks, USDA approved other Elisa-type tests, including those from California firm Bio-Rad and Maine company Idexx. Abbott Labs, based in Illinois, announced Wednesday it had won approval for its Enfer tests, another Elisa-type test that can return results in about 3 1/2 hours, slightly faster than the others.

The Enfer tests were developed by Enfer Scientific of Ireland, where officials tested nearly 40 percent of the 1.8 million cattle slaughtered last year.

FACT FILE Battling mad cow disease
Steps planned by U.S. officials to help protect the food supply from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
• 'Downer' cattle
• Test and hold
• Advanced meat recovery (AMR)
• Cattle tracking system
• Specified risk material (SRMs)
• Air stun guns
• Bans on feed

All cows considered non-ambulatory -- those that cannot walk by themselves -- when they reach a slaughter facility will be banned from human consumption. Even so, the USDA will continue to test them for BSE.
Source: MSNBC • Print this

U.S. officials have been scrambling to respond to the nation's first case of mad cow disease, found last December in a Mabton, Wash., dairy cow. Among their efforts is a significant increase in testing for the disease, with 200,000 or more cows to be checked in the next 18 months, up from 20,000 last year.

The one-time testing increase is significant, but would still leave the U.S. far behind many European countries and Japan, which tests every cow intended for human consumption.

Food safety advocates and even some beef producers have called for broader testing, some even demanding universal tests similar to Japan's. Major meat packers and government officials have dismissed such moves as scientifically unjustified, and insist the tests are intended to check for the disease's presence, not for food safety.

Instead, USDA officials say new restrictions on the use of some cattle parts, which the agency said Wednesday would cost the beef industry some $150 million this year, should guarantee the meat supply is safe.

Related story

USDA estimates mad cow costs
Mad cow testing: How much is enough?
Mad cow testing: What is the goal?

Many types of tests
U.S. testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, as the fatal brain disease is formally known, will occur at seven state veterinary labs across the country. The labs will be allowed to choose the tests they wish to use, though any initial positives will be sent to the USDA's lab in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation using a comprehensive process known as immunohistochemistry.

Fabio Rupp, Prionics' representative in North America, said the company recommends Western blot tests, despite their slightly lower price tag, because of a lower potential for false positive results. He said the current test can be run in a few hours, about what is required for other tests.

"There is ample evidence that it is a very reliable test," Rupp said.

Western blot tests were also used by Italian researchers to help identify an apparent new type of mad cow disease, which they reported in February. The tests helped show that the type of BSE found in several Italian cows differed significantly from that found in other infected cattle.
© 2005 MSNBC Interactive

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TimH

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reader(the Second)- "Mike, I heard the USDA talk at the Feb 2004 FDA hearing and I believe that exactly what you just wrote was the case. They said that they scrambled and that they had only one lab (Ames) able to test and then without much experience in testing, which is why they sent it to the UK."

Perhaps, reader(the second), you should re-read the "Full Tanscript of Clifford/Johanns Press Conference" thread, that YOU posted,below. :D

Dr.Clifford clearly states that the Washington cow was tested using the Western Blot test.
 

Mike

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Go up to my other post Tim. Not splitting hairs here, but something ain't jiving with USDA info.

But MSNBC reports that the USDA approved the Prionics Check Western in Apr of 2004.
 

TimH

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Mike- "Go up to my other post Tim. Not splitting hairs here, but something ain't jiving with USDA info."

The date on your other post is April 08/04. Dr.Clifford says they used a Western Blot test to confirm the Washington cow in December/03.

Yup!!! Something ain't jiving alright!! :shock:

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might say that it appears that USDA tests domestic cattle with Bio-Rad and IHC tests and saves the Western Blot tests for imported cattle.
But I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I'm not saying that!!! :D :D
 

Mike

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USDA licenses three more rapid BSE tests
April 12, 2004
Lean Trimmings
Edited by Kiran Kernellu
NMA member Abbott Laboratories, Inc. of Abbott Park, IL announced on April 7 that USDA has given it permission to sell and distribute its rapid BSE test, becoming the third test to be licensed by the Agency so far. According to a company release, Abbott's rapid Enfer BSE test provides results within hours, is easy to use and addresses the workflow needs of USDA-approved screening laboratories. The test detects the presence of the abnormal proteins (prions) believed to cause BSE.
Since entering into a marketing and distribution agreement in 2001 with Ireland-based Enfer Scientific Ltd., Abbott has been selling the test outside the U.S. and has exclusive rights to sell the test throughout the world, except in Ireland. The Enfer BSE test is approved for cattle testing in the European Union and Japan. "The Enfer BSE test has been successful in Europe and Japan, where large scale screening is mandatory," stated Joseph M. Nemmers, Senior Vice President, Diagnostic Operations, Abbott Laboratories. "As a leader in diagnostic testing and blood screening, we will continue to work with the USDA and offer this high quality test as part of an overall BSE screening solution."
More than three million samples have been tested for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) using the Enfer test. In fact, Enfer Scientific is the world's largest TSE screening laboratory, routinely performing up to 9,000 tests per day and providing results to beef processors within a minimum turnaround time of 12 hours.
"The rapid Enfer BSE assay tests every bovine brain sample in duplicate," said Jim Koziarz, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Development, Diagnostics, Abbott Laboratories. "If either test result is reactive, the brain specimen is resampled and retested in duplicate. This type of testing method ensures that a true positive would be reliably detected."
Last Thursday, April 8, Prionics AG of Zurich, Switzerland announced that USDA approved two of its rapid tests for BSE, the Prionics-Check WESTERN and the Prionics-Check LIA, which are based on the Western Blot and Elisa tests, respectively. "The Western Blot is known for its increased level of accuracy, because it does not produce false positive results, which can cause a significant loss in consumer confidence and have major economic impact, particularly in BSE-free countries and countries with a low incidence of BSE, like the U.S.," said Prionics CEO Mark Moser in a press release. In fact, according to the release, the Prionics-Check WESTERN was used in 18,000,000 rapid BSE tests from 2001 to 2003 throughout the world, never yielding a "false positive." Prionics technology is currently used in over 30 countries worldwide, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia and most European countries. "The licensing of our BSE test is a step forward towards a better protection of con sumers from potentially infected beef," said Martin Madaus, President and CEO of Roche Diagnostics, the company that will distribute both of Prionics' rapid BSE tests.
"Our superior technology and our vast worldwide experience in setting up surveillance programs, optimizing logistics and establishing laboratory networks will enable Prionics and Roche to provide the U.S. with unparalleled assistance in BSE surveillance and testing," Moser added. The WESTERN is manufactured by Pierce Biotechnology, Inc. of Rockford, IL and the LIA is manufactured by Greiner Diagnostics of Langenthal, Switzerland.
All told, USDA has licensed a total of five rapid BSE tests from four companies.
 

Mike

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TimH said:
Mike- "Go up to my other post Tim. Not splitting hairs here, but something ain't jiving with USDA info."

The date on your other post is April 08/04. Dr.Clifford says they used a Western Blot test to confirm the Washington cow in December/03.

Yup!!! Something ain't jiving alright!! :shock:

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might say that it appears that USDA tests domestic cattle with Bio-Rad and IHC tests and saves the Western Blot tests for imported cattle.
But I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I'm not saying that!!! :D :D

It appears that SOMEONE should say it! :???:
 

Mike

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reader (the Second) said:
TimH said:
Mike- "Go up to my other post Tim. Not splitting hairs here, but something ain't jiving with USDA info."

The date on your other post is April 08/04. Dr.Clifford says they used a Western Blot test to confirm the Washington cow in December/03.

Yup!!! Something ain't jiving alright!! :shock:

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might say that it appears that USDA tests domestic cattle with Bio-Rad and IHC tests and saves the Western Blot tests for imported cattle.
But I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I'm not saying that!!! :D :D

They sent the Washington cow to the UK to CONFIRM which is where they used the WB. They used the IHC when they initially detected the BSE, per Al Jenny's quote that I posted above. Does this make it all make sense?

I guess :???:
 

TimH

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reader(the Second)- "They sent the Washington cow to the UK to CONFIRM which is where they used the WB. They used the IHC when they initially detected the BSE, per Al Jenny's quote that I posted above. Does this make it all make sense?"

It still does not answer my original question. Why was Washington cow IMMEDIATELY tested with the Western Blot test, and the Texas cow(from last November) only NOW tested with the Western Blot???? :???:
 

Mike

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reader (the Second) said:
Sorry, my "bad." Al Jenny went on to say:
We did get the frozen tissue. We did have Dr. Dr. Richt at the National Animal Disease Center do the Western blot. It was positive, and we are doing one of the rapid tests just on a developmental basis at NVSL. So we did it on the biorad rapid test, and it was positive on that test. I think that was it.

Okay. So according to our plan the BSE response plan, the initial case was going to be confirmed in England by pathologists that look at BSE routinely. So the immuno and histo slides were taken to Weybridge, to that lab, agency lab there, and their pathologists agreed to come in on Christmas day. They spent about ten minutes looking at the slide and said, "That's it."

And the phone call came back here that they agreed, and so that converted it from a presumptive to a confirm.

Sounds like they used a bunch of different tests on the FIRST BSE cow (Washington State) -- IHC, WB, Biorad Rapid. All were positive. They only sent it to the UK because that was protocol for the first ever BSE, set up beforehand I bet.

The question still remains............why didn't they use the Western Blot on THIS sample (the one announced Friday)?????????
 

Mike

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TimH said:
reader(the Second)- "They sent the Washington cow to the UK to CONFIRM which is where they used the WB. They used the IHC when they initially detected the BSE, per Al Jenny's quote that I posted above. Does this make it all make sense?"

It still does not answer my original question. Why was Washington cow IMMEDIATELY tested with the Western Blot test, and the Texas cow(from last November) only NOW tested with the Western Blot???? :???:

We must have posted the same question at about the same time! Tim
Anyway, the fox has been seen coming out of the henhouse.
 

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