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Spectroscopy Could Detect Mad-Cow Disease
Oct 2002
LONDON, Oct. 16 -- German scientists are developing a new blood screening system that could detect mad cow disease or its human equivalent in less than 15 minutes, using infrared spectroscopy to look for differences in the chemical make-up between healthy cells and infected cells, according to a Reuters article.

Dieter Naumann and scientists at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin have only tested the technique on blood from hamsters with a similar disease, but it identified 97% of the infected samples.

They will next test it on blood from cows infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy and eventually on human samples to screen for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human illness, in national blood banks.

Naumann's method is different from other blood tests that are being developed, because it doesn't look for prions, the misshapen proteins that cause the diseases, reported New Scientist magazine last week.
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