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Anal Chem. 2003 Dec 1;75(23):6673-8.

Antemortem identification of bovine spongiform encephalopathy from serum using infrared spectroscopy.

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P13, Robert Koch-Institut, Nordufer 20, 13353 Berlin, Germany.


Since 1986, more than 180 000 clinical cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) have been observed in the U.K. alone. Most of these cases were confirmed by postmortem examination of brain tissue. However, BSE-related risk assessment and risk management would greatly benefit from antemortem testing on living animals. A serum-based test could allow for screening of the cattle population; thus, even a BSE eradication program would be conceivable. Here we report on a novel method for antemortem BSE testing, which combines infrared spectroscopy of serum samples with multivariate pattern recognition analysis. A classification algorithm was trained using infrared spectra of bovine sera from more than 800 animals (including BSE-positive, healthy controls and animals suffering from classical viral or bacterial infections). In two validation studies, sensitivities of 85 and 84% and specificities of 86 and 91% were achieved, respectively. The combination of classification algorithms increased the sensitivity and specificity of BSE detection to 96 and 92%, respectively.

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