Transforming the control of mycobacterial infections

Veterinary, agriculture and food safety applications

We have developed a highly sensitive test for mycobacteria, which can rapidly detect infection in blood, milk and other tissue samples.


Actiphage® is based on technology, developed by Drs Cath Rees and Ben Swift at the University of Nottingham, it detects the presence of live mycobacteria.

Includes: Mycobacterium bovis (bovine TB): Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP; Johne’s disease), which are significant causes of morbidity and loss of productivity in cattle.

Uniquely the technology can differentiate between vaccinated animals and those carrying live infectious organisms.


We have developed highly specific and sensitive assays for the cost-effective detection of MAP and bovine tuberculosis in multiple tissue types including blood and milk.

Assays are available as standard laboratory tests (48 hours) or in a simple, single-day, sample-to-result format.

The assays can be used for infection control and as part of a quality assurance programme to ensure the absence of infection in non-pasteurised products.

In addition, the method can be adapted to detect other types of mycobacteria and applied to infections in other animal hosts including deer, goats, camelids and exotic species.

The economic cost of bovine tuberculosis

Bovine tuberculosis was once isolated to small pockets of the UK, but it has spread extensively through the country.

According to figures from DEFRA, the number of herd breakdown has doubled every 9 years

In the last decade around 305,000 cattle have been slaughtered across Great Britain

In 2012 in England alone, 5.5 million bovine TB tests were performed, leading to the slaughter of 28,000 cattle with the disease costing the taxpayer £100 million

In the last decade bovine TB has cost the taxpayer £500 million and this figure is expected to rise to £1 billion over the next decade if the disease is left unchecked

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