AVC receives federal funding to develop new diagnostic tests

Diagnostic Services to develop multiplex tests to detect bovine and swine viruses
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Research scientist Dante Mateo describes multiplex testing to Hon. Lawrence MacAulay in AVC's Diagnostic Services Unit.

AVC’s Diagnostic Services Unit has received funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food to develop new diagnostic tests that are more effective, more sensitive, and less expensive for detecting bovine and swine viruses.

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced recently at AVC that Diagnostic Services has received $709,138 for the project from the federal Growing Forward 2 program.

Researchers in Diagnostic Services’ Regional Diagnostic Virology Service laboratory will work on developing three multiplex molecular tests that will test for multiple viruses from a single sample. The researchers will target diseases that affect food-producing animals and therefore pose economic risk in the domestic and export markets. These diseases include swine enteric viruses such as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and transmissible gastroenteritis virus, and bovine enteric and respiratory viruses, such as bovine parainfluenza virus and bovine virus diarrhea virus.

"Canada’s reputation for safe, high-quality meat and dairy products is one that is backed by science and helps to keep our sector competitive and profitable,” says MacAulay. “This partnership with one of Canada’s leading veterinary colleges will ensure our industry continues to be recognized domestically and internationally for producing high-quality products.”

Dr. Greg Keefe, dean of AVC, says the project will strengthen AVC’s ability to monitor for, and prevent the spread of, diseases that may affect the beef, dairy, and pork export industries in Atlantic Canada.
“The beef, dairy, and pork industries in Atlantic Canada are important economic drivers, and it is essential that food-production animals are healthy for productivity and welfare, and our export trade.”

Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, President and Vice-Chancellor of UPEI, thanked the Government of Canada for its support, saying “this investment in the Atlantic Veterinary College at UPEI supports the critical role our regional institution plays in health management of food-producing animals, effective disease surveillance, and prosperity of our key industries.”

The research team will work on developing one multiplex test per year, with the goal of completing all three in three years. Once the new tests have been validated, they can be used by veterinary diagnostic laboratories across Canada.

Anna MacDonald
AVC External Relations Officer
Atlantic Veterinary College
(902) 566-6786
Contact UPEI