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Animal Health and Welfare (23-10-2007)

TSE diagnostic tests: Commission launches call for expression of interest

The European Commission has today launched a call for expression of interest for the evaluation of rapid new diagnostic tests for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in ruminants.
The first evaluation of diagnostic tests for TSE was in 1999, and since then two additional evaluations have been carried out. Aware of the fact that there has been progress made and work carried out on developing new tests to diagnose TSEs, the Commission now wishes to launch a new evaluation programme for such tests.
The aim of the call for expression of interest is to identify and select new tests for evaluation. The evaluation would determine their suitability for the diagnosis of TSEs in ruminants. The tests selected for evaluation will be those which can be shown to offer potential on the basis of pre-evaluation work carried out by or on behalf of the developer and considered capable of providing reliable evidence on the presence of TSE agents in ruminants. Research laboratories and private or public institutions which claim to have such tests are invited respond to the Commission's call and to submit a technical dossier supporting their claim.
Background
TSEs are a family of diseases characterised by a degeneration of brain tissue. The family includes diseases such as Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and scrapie in small ruminants (sheep and goats).
An active BSE monitoring programme was introduced in the whole European Community in 2001. The programme includes the testing of all risk cattle over 24 months of age (fallen stock, emergency slaughtered cattle and cattle with clinical signs at ante-mortem inspection) and the testing of all healthy slaughtered cattle above 30 months of age. Since April 2002, a TSE monitoring programme is also carried out for all small ruminants.
For more information on the call, see: http://ted.publications.eu.int/udl?request=seek-deliver&language=en&docid=247339-2007