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UF researchers develop blood test for devastating disease of boas and pythons
Date:1/29/2014

kes having IBD. They then sequenced the protein in an effort to further understand the nature and cause of the disease. Although the cause of IBD is unclear, the UF team found genetic links of this unique protein are associated with a family of viruses that primarily infect rodents but may infect humans. However, there is no evidence to indicate that the virus that causes IBD can infect people.

When Chang joined the study in 2008, she realized the limited availability of snake databases and potential causative agents of the disease presented additional challenges.

"It took us almost a year to finally produce this antibody, and three more years to validate its performance for immuno-based diagnostic tests," Chang said.

University of California-San Francisco researchers identified the Golden Gate virus in 2012 and scientists now consider it to be a potential cause of IBD.

UF's findings supplement that theory, although more studies of disease transmission need to be conducted to confirm the role of Golden Gate virus in the development of IBD, Jacobson said.

The research was performed at the UF's Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research through the university's veterinary diagnostic laboratories, where the new test is now offered. It will supplement existing molecular and histological tests, which are more widely available but also more expensive, Jacobson added. In addition, the test's ease of use and simplicity will offer veterinary practitioners a good first-line diagnostic tool to screen for IBD in snake species that show signs of the disease, or even before these signs occur.

"We know now that this disease exists in multiple collections and populations," Jacobson said. "It is important to determine why some snakes are not showing clinical signs of the disease. Could there be another agent operating synergistically? Perhaps one virus needs to be present but another virus needs to be present also, or pe
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Contact: Sarah Carey
careysk@ufl.edu
352-294-4242
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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UF researchers develop blood test for devastating disease of boas and pythons
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