Australians Develop
Quick Test For Bird Flu

(AAP) -- Australian scientists have made an international breakthrough with the development of a rapid test to detect avian influenza, or bird flu.
The test developed by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) would reduce the time taken to detect the virus from three weeks to one day, state Agriculture Minister Bob Cameron said.
"What Victorian scientists have been able to do is develop a real-time PCR test, which is many times faster than the existing culture process currently used throughout the world today," Mr Cameron said.
The test would be able to detect 15 different strains of bird flu, including the strains that are transferable to humans, he said.
"As with all disease outbreaks, the quicker it can be diagnosed the quicker the problem can be dealt with."
Bird flu posed a serious threat to Australia's $430 million poultry industry, which employed more than 3000 direct and indirect jobs, Mr Cameron said.
It also posed a risk to human health, and could impact on tourism, trade and exports, he said.
"While there have been no reported cases of avian influenza or bird flu in Australia for more than five years, recent scares in South-East Asia mean we must remain vigilant."
The diagnostic test will form the centrepiece of Victorian research to be showcased at BIO2005 in Philadelphia later this week.,10117,15600249-2,00.html



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