- (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
- The test would be able to detect 15 different strains
of bird flu, including the strains that are transferable to humans, he
- "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.