Convergent Bio Marker Test for CWD Exposure
Convergent has developed a patent pending blood and tissue biomarker test that holds the promise of confirming whether or not a deer has been exposed to CWD. Convergent’s goal, once the test has been validated through a peer reviewed journal and received USDA approval, is to release the test for use by hunters and state testing labs. Hunters will eventually be able to either pick up a sample collection kit from their state wildlife agency, retailer, or order online when they get their license. Hunters will collect a small, corn kernel-sized piece of muscle, cut it in half and drop both pieces into a tube and mail to the designated lab. Within three days of the lab’s receipt of the sample it will be able to tell hunters if the deer they harvested has been exposed to CWD.
Convergent is working with investigators at Texas Tech University (TTU) and Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) to validate and further develop the test and procedures. The resarch team recently released a non-peer reviewed paper on its validation study, available at www.biorxiv.org, titled “A Non-invasive, Biomarker Assay for Detecting Chronic Wasting Disease Pathology in White-tailed Deer”. Convergent and the University are actively seeking research partnerships with state wildlife agencies and the USDA to gather additional deer tissue and blood samples in the 2022 deer season. The samples will allow the TTU/TTUHSC team team to further validate the test and to submit a broader study to a peer reviewed journal.
Convergent will seek full regulatory approval of the test upon publication of the peer-reviewed paper. Before the test can be released for public use, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will need to validate the test and it will need to be approved for use in the National Animal Health Lab Network, a process that can take several years. Convergent anticipates submitting to APHIS with publication of the peer reviewed study. Convergent will also pursue approving the test as an option for the USDA captive herd release program for Cervids.