Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Drs. Pam Skinner and Peter Larsen Aim for $1.8M in Funding for CWD Testing

Drs. Pam Skinner and Peter Larsen Aim for $1.8M in Funding for CWD Testing
"The test would be deployable in the field, not just on farms. It would allow for better surveillance, enabling state agencies to respond quickly and effectively to both manage and potentially eradicate the disease" -Dr. Peter Larsen
Pam Skinner and Peter Larsen

 

 

 

 
 
Chronic Wasting Disease Timeline of Events
February 10, 2019 – Dr. Peter Larsen Quoted in The Western Journal
Jack Davis, writer with The Western Journal quotes Dr. Peter Larsen in the story, “Experts Warn Fatal ‘Zombie Deer Disease’ Could Spread to Humans in ‘Substantial’ Way." The article discusses new fears that Chronic Wasting Disease, AKA  CWD and ‘Zombie Deer Disease,’ could impact humans in the near future.
 
February 7, 2019 - Dr. Pam Skinner Speaks to KAAL TV, ABC News, Channel 6, Rochester, MN
Dr. Pam Skinner speaks to KAAL TV ABC News, Channel 6 in Rochester, MN about the effects of Chronic Wasting Disease in the story 'Lawmakers, U of M Researchers Hope Live Tests Will Slow Spread of CWD.' In the interview, Dr. Skinner explains how this testing would allow deer to be tested at an early stage in the disease process which could help to prevent spreading of the disease as well as save money and also potentially lead to a patent that would provide revenue stream for the University of Minnesota.
 
February 7, 2019 - Dr. Peter Larsen Interviewed by St. Paul Pioneer Press
Dave Orrick, writer with the Saint Paul Pioneer Press interviewed Dr. Peter Larsen in the write-up, "Experts: Yes, chronic wasting disease in deer is a public health issue - for people," This article discusses the potential for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to affect human health some day. Wildlife officials are currently tracking the state of Minnesota's largest outbreak of CWD in the southeast corner of the state. "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend against eating CWD-infected deer, but without anything conclusive, wildlife agencies throughout America say the decision is a personal choice, and some hunters do eat the meat." Dr. Peter Larsen explained how the rate of infection with CWD is similar to 'modeling radioactive material.'
 
February 1, 2019 - Dr. Peter Larsen Speaks to MPR About New Testing Methods for CWD
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) recently interviewed Dr. Peter Larsen, VBS Assistant Professor, along with staff in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) about a new way to test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD.) MPR Writers John Enger and Angela Davis summarized their interview in the article, "New test could speed up detection of fatal brain disease in deer." In the write-up Dr. Larsen discussed the use of nanotechnology to detect Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, which would speed up testing. Funding requests have been proposed to the Minnesota State Legislature and Dr. Larsen with other UMN researchers are hopeful that with funding they can create a working prototype in two years.
 
January 23, 2019 - Drs. Pamela Skinner and Peter Larsen Address MN House Committee to Fund Chronic Wasting Disease
Drs. Pamela Skinner-VBS Professor, Peter Larsen-VBS Assistant Professor, Davis Seelig-VCS Assistant Professor, Dean Trevor Ames, and VDL Leaders including Dr. Jerry Torrison-VDL Director, presented to the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee to appeal for $1.8 million to fund research into early detection of Chronic Wasting Disease. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk, and moose. It causes degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in abnormal behavior, weight loss, loss of bodily functions, and death. Eric Martin, MN State House reporter wrote a full recap in the Minnesota House of Representatives Session Daily Home website.
 
The write up includes a breakdown explaining how with this funding, researchers could develop a test that will be able to detect the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease within minutes or hours as opposed to current testing which take up to 14 days and require further testing to confirm results. Dr. Skinner stated, "Current scientific advances should allow a test to be developed within two years, and any research in the project would have implications that reach beyond testing deer."
 
When discussion moved to the affects on wild animals in addition to farm animals, Dr. Larsen concluded, "The test would be deployable in the field, not just on farms. It would allow for better surveillance, enabling state agencies to respond quickly and effectively to both manage and potentially eradicate the disease."
There will be another meeting at the Capitol next week.

The College of Veterinary Medicine breaks down the researchers involved in this projects as well as goals needed to acheive funding in "UMN veterinary scientists propose faster Chronic Wasting Disease diagnostic test."