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Virus test kit to stave off ALV-J in chicks

Article

Washington - A new commercial blood test kit can detect chicks infected by an extremely deadly strain of avian leukosis virus, ALV-J, reports the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, which patented the technology.

Washington - A new commercial blood test kit can detect chicksinfected by an extremely deadly strain of avian leukosis virus, ALV-J, reportsthe USDA's Agricultural Research Service, which patented the technology.

It is the first commercial product to emerge from an ARS response toan ALV- J emergence in the United States that reached epidemic proportionsin 1996. The epidemic threatened to squash the poultry industry's abilityto meet demand.

The new ALV-J kit, manufactured by Synbiotics Corp., San Diego, is oneof two such kits in the world. (The other kit was developed by researchersabroad.)

ARS collaborates with scientists worldwide who belong to a consortiumof private industries, universities and government agencies. The U.S. PrimaryBreeders Veterinary Roundtable has funded some of the ARS research.

Biochemist Lucy Lee, at the ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratoryin East Lansing, Mich., was responsible for isolating and cloning the genethat produces the protein coat that protects the live virus. Chicken cellsreact to the coating because it is the first point of contact.

Lee and other U.S. and international researchers are further studyingthe gene in hopes of developing an ALV-J vaccine.

ALV-J cannot infect animals besides chickens.

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