Actiphage technology

Mycobacteria are a cause of a number of diseases in cattle and other species, such as Mycobacterium bovis (bovine TB) and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP; Johne’s Disease).

Specialised phage diagnostics

Scientists Dr Cath Rees and Dr Ben Swift discovered that mycobacteria cells can be rapidly detected in the blood and milk of infected animals at very high sensitivity and specificity.

PBD Biotech has developed a novel diagnostic called Actiphage™ based on this work.

The phage-based technology was originally developed as a commercial product for human TB diagnosis, but has now been substantially updated and improved.

Actiphage uses a virus that is specific for mycobacteria and only replicates in live or viable cells, so has the potential to become a significant tool in the detection and control of TB and other mycobacterial diseases in animals and humans.

Actiphage applications

The commercially available phage-based technology has significant application in veterinary, agriculture, food safety and potentially in human health sectors.

Actiphage can detect both MAP and bovine tuberculosis in cattle and other animals including deer, goats, camelids and exotic species. So far it has been successfully applied to samples from 17 different animal species.

  • Define the disease risk status of an animal/s before introduction to a herd, or transportation
  • Screen herds of animals to determine disease status
  • Support holistic TB control plans for herds in any situation, including vaccine application
  • Assess the likely impact of mycobacterial infection in wildlife
  • In the development, and application of novel mycobacterial vaccines
  • As a valuable research tool
  • To verify the food safety of milk and diary products, as part of risk assessment post-TB breakdown
  • As a quality control tool for food manufacturing

Actiphage – a rapid test for the presence of live mycobacteria

Actiphage provides highly specific and sensitive assays for the cost-effective detection of mycobacterial disease in multiple tissue types including blood and milk.

A unique feature of our phage-based diagnostic is that it can distinguish between viable and non-viable organisms and therefore reliably differentiate between animals carrying live infectious organisms and those that have been specifically vaccinated. Our FAQs page provides more detailed information about Actiphage's specificity and sensitivity compared to traditional culture methods.

The assays are available either as standard laboratory tests (Actiphage Core) or in a simple 6-hour sample-to-result format (Actiphage Rapid).

Find out more about the Actiphage assays on PBD Biotech's YouTube channel.

Interested in finding out more?

Contact us