Friday, April 10, 2015

Flu test takes only minutes

Researchers at the University of Guelph claim they have a new test for avian influenza that takes only minutes and can be done on farms.

That compares with days it took to determine the exact strain of avian influenza that recently felled 10,000 of the 30,000 turkeys in a flock near Woodstock.

That flock is being euthanized and eight poultry farms within five kilometres are under quarantine.

“This test only needs two to three minutes to incubate, and then you get the results immediately. Not only that, but it is more cost-effective,” says Prof. Suresh Neethirajan, of the School of Engineering.

“Conventional techniques are time-consuming and labour-intensive, and require special facilities and expensive laboratory instruments,” he said by way of a news release from the university.

The test is done with a few drops of blood taken from birds. Within minutes a chemical colour change will indicate whether the blood carries avian influenza.

Neethirajan said it will also indicate the specific strain of avian influenza.

A study about the device will appear in an upcoming issue of the scientific journal Sensors, published by Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI).

Frankly, I think this seems far too good to be true.