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Cepheid s Plans to Deploy System to Detect Foot-and-Mouth Delayed as USDA Postpones Trip

NEW YORK, March 30 – USDA scientists who were supposed to test animals in the UK for foot-and-mouth disease with Cepheid’s Smart Cycler DNA detection system have instead postponed their trip, a scientist at Cepheid said Friday.

“They’re not going to the UK because the Brits are inundated with problems and don’t have time to respond to visitors,” said Kurt Petersen, president of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cepheid.

Petersen added that for the moment, authorities in the UK aren’t performing any testing for foot-and-mouth, but are instead just killing any animal that might be sick.

On Thursday, Petersen said USDA scientists would take the company’s PCR-based DNA detection system to the UK to help test animals for foot-and-mouth disease.

Scientists with the USDA and Tetracore, a biotechnology company based in Gaithersburg, Md., have developed reagents to test for certain sequences of DNA specific to the foot-and-mouth pathogen using the Smart Cycler, and had successfully tested it at the USDA’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center of the eastern tip of Long Island.

Petersen said he did not know when the group might make the trip, but it was still a possibility. “It could turn out that they go over there anyway,” he said.  
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