Veterinary, human-medicine researchers working on H1N1 diagnostic tools


Veterinary, human-medicine researchers working on H1N1 diagnostic tools

Aug 20, 2009
By staff
Manhattan, Kan. -- Two Kansas State professors and one from Iowa State University are collaborating with a scientist at the New York State Department of Health (NYDH) on diagnostic and intervention tools for the H1N1 virus.

While the NYDH is working on the human-health side, KSU professors Dick Hesse and Bob Rowland and Iowa State professor Jeffrey Zimmerman are focused on the animal-health aspects, including the health of swine.

Hesse, an associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology and head of diagnostic virology in KSU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and Rowland, a professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, are working on a diagnostic method for pigs that analyzes saliva rather than blood. Zimmerman, a professor of veterinary diagnostics and production-animal medicine at Iowa State, has developed a less-invasive collection procedure for the pigs: The animals chew on a rope, from which saliva is collected.

"Just as we are developing non-invasive techniques to collect samples from animals, it provides the New York state health lab the opportunity to develop the same oral-fluids technique for humans," Rowland says. “We bring a lot to the table, but at the same time they bring a lot to us. One of the nice things is we can study the virus in pigs and get the type of reagents and samples from which to develop the tests. You can't do that with people."

The Kansas State researchers are developing multiplex system tests to profile swine herds and determine what's circulating, what the antibody response is, and with that knowledge help producers make sound management decisions.

Rowland said that some of the benefits of their testing system are that it provides more information, better accuracy and should be available to producers at less cost.

After diagnosing diseases in herds, the researchers said their next goals are to help producers with surveillance and prevention.