Actiphage technology

PBD Biotech specialises in novel phage-based diagnostic 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).

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. It uses a virus that is specific for mycobacteria and only replicates in viable cells, and so has the potential to become a significant tool in the detection and control of tuberculosis in animals and humans. It also has application in food safety and public health.

Actiphage Rapid – a direct test for the presence of live Mycobacteria

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

These assays are available either as standard laboratory tests (24 hours) or in a simple, single-day, sample-to-result format. The test has an important role within infection control and as part of food quality assurance programmes to ensure the absence of infection in food products.

A unique feature of a 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.

This means it can be a valuable tool in the development and application of novel Mycobacterial vaccines.

Actiphage can be used to:

  • Define the disease risk status of an individual or group of animals before introduction to a herd or transport to new location
  • Screen groups or herds of animals to determine disease and infection status
  • Support a holistic TB management plan for any herd in any situation including vaccine application
  • As a quality control tool for food manufacturing
  • As a means to undertake detailed epidemiologic studies on disease transmission
  • Assess the likely impact of Mycobacterial infection in wildlife

Application of phage-base diagnostics

The technology was originally developed as a commercial product for human TB diagnosis but has now been substantially updated and improved. Actiphage can detect both MAP and bovine tuberculosis in cattle and other animal hosts including deer, goats, camelids and exotic species.

The phage-based platform technology has significant application in veterinary, agriculture and potentially in human health sectors.

Watch our short video about Actiphage, below, or visit PBD Biotech's YouTube to find out more about the assay and our work.

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