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Lorna Dawson

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Lorna DawsonThe use of oral fluid from pig populations for the diagnosis and monitoring of infectious disease

Lorna Dawson - Newcastle University
Duration - 2011-2014

Lorna graduated with an MSci. in Biomedical Sciences from Newcastle University in 2011. She has always had an interest in disease dynamics and particularly the interplay between human and animal health and disease. The PhD Studentship came up just before she graduated in the summer of 2011, and so she pretty much came straight back to University in the autumn.

Project Aims and Objectives
The overall aim is to develop validated protocols for using porcine oral fluid (OF) for the diagnosis and monitoring of infectious disease. Specific objectives are to develop even further laboratory diagnostics for reliable detection of key UK endemic disease agents in oral fluid; to determine factors affecting the composition of porcine oral fluid and how this influences recovery of markers of specific infectious diseases and to develop and test field sampling strategies for pigs housed under the range of UK conditions.

Potential Benefit to Industry:
The ability to store dried OF samples at ambient temperatures could provide a safe means for farmers to collect their own biological samples, without the need for veterinary assistance, and send these samples to the diagnostic facility without the need for chilling. FTA card dried samples can be sent in the UK postal system as samples are rendered non-infectious upon contact with the card matrix.

The development of an OF assay to detect anti-Salmonella antibodies will provide a quick, easy method for farmers to obtain their herd status without the need for extensive bleeds by veterinarians. 

The successful validation of PRRS testing in pen-based OF against blood serum will open a new avenue of disease monitoring possibilities for UK pig producers. 

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