NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen said today that it has licensed technology from the Institute for Animal Health for molecular testing for bluetongue, a viral disease that affects sheep, cattle, and other farm animals and is spreading through Europe.
Under the agreement, Qiagen has licensed a molecular assay design for the bluetongue virus, called the cador BTV RT-PCR Kit, which it plans to launch in 2009.
Qiagen said that the kit enables swift and sensitive detection of all 24 known BTV strains. Because the bluetongue disease, which can have mortality rates as high as 70 percent, causes symptoms that are not specific to disease, “there is a growing demand for reliable and fast laboratory tests which might help to contain future outbreaks,” the company said.
Over the past decade, there have been bluetongue outbreaks in the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, and the IAH has estimated that the potential impact of a major disease outbreak could be as much as €600 million ($763 million) in the UK alone.
Qiagen’s veterinary testing business is a part of its Applied Testing Section, which includes quality control, biodefense, forensics, and other applications.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.