Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory in a Suitcase Travels to Farms to Test Livestock

New molecular point-of-care testing systems already being tested in several African countries

Pathologists will be interested to learn that sophisticated point-of-care molecular diagnostics testing is now being done on livestock in farms. This is a giant leap forward for point-of-care testing, as there are now commercially available suitcase-sized devices used to perform molecular diagnostic tests for avian flu in livestock. These molecular testing systems are undergoing trials in Africa, primarily Sudan and Kenya.

Development of the devices was partially funded through a joint project of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The organizations are concerned about trans-boundary animal diseases that, like the avian flu, can cross from one species to another. These agencies funded research to develop molecular diagnostic methods to rapidly identify such diseases. The avian flu test is the first to make use of this new molecular technology.