Biotech Firm Tackling COVID-19 and M.bovis Announces Successful Development of Rapid, Accurate Johne’s Disease Assay

Auckland-based biotechnology company Pictor Limited has been developing an accurate, affordable multiplexed diagnostic test for Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) – also known as Johne’s disease, that could save the New Zealand dairy industry upwards of $80 million a year in lost production.

“The PictArray™ MAP assay would be a positive addition to national control programs to help in the eradication of Johne’s disease from the dairy industry,” says Pictor’s Director of Research and Development, Dr. Natasha Gordon, who will be presenting at a Johne’s disease conference this week in Dublin, Ireland.

The PictArray multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technology allows multiple biomarkers to be tested in a single well. This feature increases the information gained by the clinical testing laboratory, enabling improved disease management on the farm. Conventional ELISA takes a snapshot of a disease at one moment in time, while the PictArray multiplex allows complex diseases to be monitored through different stages of infection using biomarkers that present at different time points during the infection cycle, including asymptomatic stages. Earlier detection of Johne’s disease would allow infected animals to be removed from herds sooner, minimizing transmission.

“Our PictArray MAP assay could facilitate improved biosecurity, and support trade, because tests can be performed quickly and accurately when importing, exporting or moving livestock and associated products between local locations, resulting in safe transportation without the risk of spreading infection,” says Gordon.

The research project is led by Pictor in a collaboration with Dr Rao Dukkipati, senior lecturer at Massey University, and builds on long-term research at Massey University by Associate Professor Alan Murray. Pictor received a $404,040 grant from the New Zealand Government’s Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund to develop the test and Pictor has filed a PCT application for this multiplexed assay.

About Pictor

Pictor is an in vitro diagnostics company that offers a patented multiplexed platform for highly accurate and efficient testing of complex and infectious diseases for human and animal health. PictArray™ multiplexed technology makes it possible to test multiple disease markers in a single test simultaneously — with higher sensitivity, faster throughput, and reduced turn-around time. The company’s lead product, PictArray™ SARS-CoV-2 IgG ELISA Kit, enables more informed clinical intervention to manage the threat of COVID-19.

For more information, please visit https://pictordx.com, and @PictorLtd on Twitter.

About Massey University

Established in 1927 and located in Palmerston North, New Zealand, Massey University offers internationally recognised teaching and research. The School of Agriculture and Environment – Te Kura Mātauranga mō Ahuwhenua me Te Taiao aims to develop a balance between social, environmental, and economic outcomes for production and sustainability.

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