Mad Cow Disease :: New test for mad cow type disease

Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston are developing a highly sensitive blood test for detecting prion particles, the infectious agents responsible for scrapie in sheep, mad cow disease, and the human form of the disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.

Levels in blood are generally too minute to be detected with biochemical methods. However, if prions could be identified in the blood, it might be possible to treat the condition at an early stage, before permanent brain damage occurs, the investigators suggest.

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