K-State, Lawrence Livermore team on Dx tools to detect infectious diseases

Veterinary medicine researchers at Kansas State University and scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have teamed up to advance the development of diagnostic tools used to detect infectious diseases, including porcine-related afflictions.

The technology being worked on includes Lawrence Livermore's Microbial Detection Array, also dubbed the "everything test", which can check a single sample for 8,000 different microbes like viruses, bacteria and fungi, the university said in a press release. The K-State team is led by Raymond Rowland, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine, and is focused on porcine diseases.

The Microbial Detection Array can test any sample, including blood, dirt, tissue, or a nasal or saliva swab, and could be valuable for public health, vaccine safety, food safety, biodefense and animal health.

"We want to figure out how to apply this test and make it useful for the veterinarian, the livestock producer or the clinician," Rowland said in a statement. "In this project, we are the people grounded in the field and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is grounded in technology."

The test is designed to look at three aspects of infectious diseases like endemic, or known diseases, emerging diseases, and foreign animal diseases, which are diseases not present in the U.S., Rowland said.

Manhattan, KS, where the K-State campus is located, will be the site of the $1.25 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), which is being built to replace the aging Plum Island, NY lab. The new facility is scheduled to be completed in 2018, and will study swine flu, foot and mouth disease and other livestock ailments.

- see the release