If you monitor wildlife news, you know that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is becoming more prevalent. In an effort to learn more about the disease, its cause and distribution, state wildlife agencies are conducting testing of gathered samples and researchers are seeking to develop more refined, accelerated testing.
Recently, a scientist at the LSU AgCenter in Louisiana claimed progress that will allow the faster development of an in-the-field CWD test for hunters.
Another company, Rushford NanoBioMedical based in Minnesota, is developing a product it says will allow a user to take a serum sample from a deer, deposit it into a hand-held sensor which then displays test results within an hour. It is yet to be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture but the company is seeking to have production-ready devices in 17 months.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in elk, deer, moose, and caribou. It belongs to a family of diseases caused by prions (misfolded protein). This particular prion disease attacks the brains of infected deer, elk and moose, causing the animals to display abnormal behavior, become uncoordinated and emaciated, and eventually die.
(Photo source: Rushford NanoBioMedical Instruments)