ZURICH, Switzerland, December 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Prionics, a world leader in farm animal diagnostics, has launched a highly effective and reliable ELISA for the early detection of antibodies specific to the Bluetongue Virus (BTV) in cattle, sheep and goats. BTV causes disease outbreaks which can spread quickly among animal herds causing substantial economic losses in affected countries. At one time the virus was limited to countries located near the equator, but in recent years increasingly more serotypes of the virus have spread to Northern Europe. To combat the disease Prionics now offers the PrioCHECK(R) BTV DR, a diagnostic test that detects all 24 BTV serotypes known.

Bluetongue is an insect-borne viral disease of domestic and wild ruminants. The virus is spread from one animal to another via bites from midges. Until 1998 the main disease outbreaks appeared in Africa, Asia, Australia, the USA, the Middle East and Mediterranean countries. In recent years, northern European countries have been hit by bluetongue disease outbreaks causing substantial economic losses. Global warming is one possible explanation for the spread of the virus, because of the increased survival of the insect vectors in these northern countries.

Early Detection

The new Prionics PrioCHECK(R) BTV DR can detect very low titers of anti-BTV antibodies already at post infection day 6 in sheep and at post infection day 7 in cattle. Infection detection dates were determined in a study conducted by the OIE Reference Laboratory in Pirbright, England, where experimentally infected animals were tested with the PrioCHECK(R) BTV DR at various days post infection. Early detection and elimination of infected animals are key to controlling the disease, says Dr. Markus Moser, CEO of Prionics. The PrioCHECK(R) BTV DR is the first product resulting from our strategic partnership with Ingenasa. This excellent test has proven its reliability in practice and will now be made available world-wide.

The new test is also highly suitable for vaccination programs that are applied to combat Bluetongue. The Prionics test can be used to identify immunized animals making it a useful tool for monitoring the success of these programs.

Bluetongue is on the list of diseases notifiable to the OIE (Office International des Epizooties). Disease symptoms are characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes, congestion, edema of the face and tongue of the animal and hemorrhages.

About Prionics

Prionics AG, based in Zurich, Switzerland, is a leading provider of farm animal diagnostics and a recognized center of expertise in BSE and prion diseases. Founded in 1997, Prionics researches and markets innovative diagnostic solutions for major farm animal diseases, contributing significantly to the protection of consumer health. Winner of the Swiss Economic Award for Company of the year (2002) and the European Biotech Award for Excellence in Biotech Business (2004), in 2006 Prionics was nominated as the world's best animal health company.

About Ingenasa

Ingenasa is a highly specialized, biotechnology company in Animal Health, which was established in the early 1980s and is based in Madrid. More than half of the workforces are university graduates engaged in the research and development of new products based on immunological and genetic technologies. A large part of their work has been carried out in the course of projects that form part of European Union framework research and development programmes, in collaboration with scientific and technological partners from Denmark, France, Holland and the United Kingdom. Ingenasa has proven its ability to achieve a European dimension, both on technological and commercial fronts and is now looking to project their product line onto an even wider international stage.

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Contact: Marjan van der Haar Marketing Communications Phone: +41-44-200-20-57 Mobile: +41-79-253-52-16 E-Mail: media@prionics.com

Contact: Marjan van der Haar, Marketing Communications, Phone: +41-44-200-20-57, Mobile: +41-79-253-52-16, E-Mail: media@prionics.com