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Development of a simple, sensitive, rapid test which discriminates BCG-vaccinated from Mycobacterium bovis-infected cattle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • P. Sopp
  • M. Coad
  • G. Hewinson
  • C.J. Howard
  • C.N. Cheallaigh
  • J. Keane
  • J. Harris
  • J.C. Hope

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5470-5476
Number of pages7
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is increasing in incidence in the UK. Effective control strategies could involve vaccination: BCG, either alone or in prime-boost strategies, remains the most effective vaccine against bovine tuberculosis. However. BCG vaccination of cattle would require development of diagnostic tests able to accurately discriminate Mycobacterium bovis-infected from BCG-vaccinated animals. Herein, we demonstrate that the detection of secreted lFN-gamma following short term culture (4 h) of whole blood wit h purified protein derived from M. bovis (PPD-B) allows such discrimination. This reflects, in part, the differential kinetics of IFN-gamma secretion in infected compared to vaccinated cattle. This is the first study to demonstrate that accurate, rapid distinction of BCG-vaccinated from M. bovis-infected cattle can be achieved in a short time period without the need for production of M. bovis-specific antigens, complex antigen Mixtures or extensive laboratory procedures. We were also able to detect PPD-specific IFN-gamma release during short term culture of blood from a number of humans with active TB indicating that this test may have wider application and is potentially Useful for the rapid diagnosis of disease in humans.

    Research areas

  • Interferon gamma , Mycobacterium bovis, Diagnosis

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