Abbott Laboratory Signs Agreement with Enfer Scientific for Mad Cow Disease Tests

ABBOTT PARK, Ill-Abbott Laboratories announced that it has agreed to work with Enfer Scientific Ltd. for the marketing and distribution of two diagnostic tests used to detect bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle.

The tests, developed by Enfer Scientific, are used to detect the presences of the abnormal prion protein associated with BSE, or Mad Cow disease. The first test is an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test, approved by the European Commission. The test has a rapid turnaround time.

The second test is a supplemental diagnostic test used to confirm positive results. Both are conducted on brain tissue and spinal cord samples from the cattle. Enfer Scientific, which is based in Tipperary, Ireland, will manufacture the tests, leaving Abbot to handle marketing under the Enfer name.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a fatal neurological disease in cattle. The current theory is that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal neurological disease in humans, is a variant of BSE. Both are caused by prion proteins that assume the wrong shape and become lethal as they create plaques that are toxic to brain tissue.

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