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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: STUDY OF ATYPICAL BSE Project Number: 3625-32000-086-05
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2004
End Date: Sep 14, 2009

Objective:
The objective of this cooperative research project with Dr. Maria Caramelli from the Italian BSE Reference Laboratory in Turin, Italy, is to conduct comparative studies with the U.S. bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) isolate and the atypical BSE isolates identified in Italy. The studies will cover the following areas: 1. Evaluation of present diagnostics tools used in the U.S. for the detection of atypical BSE cases. 2. Molecular comparison of the U.S. BSE isolate and other typical BSE isolates with atypical BSE cases. 3. Studies on transmissibility and tissue distribution of atypical BSE isolates in cattle and other species.

Approach:
This project will be done as a Specific Cooperative Agreement with the Italian BSE Reference Laboratory, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, in Turin, Italy. It is essential for the U.S. BSE surveillance program to analyze the effectiveness of the U.S diagnostic tools for detection of atypical cases of BSE. Molecular comparisons of the U.S. BSE isolate with atypical BSE isolates will provide further characterization of the U.S. BSE isolate. Transmission studies are already underway using brain homogenates from atypical BSE cases into mice, cattle and sheep. It will be critical to see whether the atypical BSE isolates behave similarly to typical BSE isolates in terms of transmissibility and disease pathogenesis. If transmission occurs, tissue distribution comparisons will be made between cattle infected with the atypical BSE isolate and the U.S. BSE isolate. Differences in tissue distribution could require new regulations regarding specific risk material (SRM) removal.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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