Development and evaluation of a gamma-interferon assay for tuberculosis in badgers (Meles meles)

Deanna Dalley, Dipesh Davé, Sandrine Lesellier, Simonette Palmer, Timothy Crawshaw, R. Glyn Hewinson, Mark Chambers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (SciVal)


In this paper we report the development of a sensitive and specific assay for the detection of tuberculosis (TB) in European badgers (Meles meles), based on the stimulation of lymphocytes in whole-blood culture and the subsequent detection of gamma-interferon (IFNγ) by sandwich ELISA. The comparative levels of IFNγ produced to bovine and avian tuberculin (B-A) was used as the basis of determining the TB status of badgers, resulting in a more sensitive test than that based on the defined Mycobacterium bovis antigens ESAT6 and CFP10. The assay was evaluated using 235 badgers. The IFNγ EIA (enzyme immunoassay) based on a monoclonal pair (mEIA) was more sensitive than one using a rabbit polyclonal antiserum (pEIA). At a specificity of 93.6%, the mEIA was 80.9% sensitive, compared to a sensitivity of 74.5% for the pEIA. At the same specificity as the EIA, the current serological ELISA test for TB in badgers (Brock test) had a sensitivity of 48.9%. Only one of the culture positive badgers missed by the mEIA was correctly diagnosed by the Brock test, suggesting that the combination of both a T-cell and serological test has little diagnostic advantage. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Early online date20 Dec 2007
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2008


  • Badger
  • Enzyme immunoassay (EIA)
  • Interferon gamma
  • Mycobacterium bovis


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