Laurence Robertson – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Laurence Robertson on 2015-10-14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the PCR test for tuberculosis; and if she will make a statement.

George Eustice

Defra recently funded a comparative study of several potential tests, including the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, for detecting Mycobacterium bovis in badger faeces. None of the tests met the minimum levels of sensitivity and specificity. Defra is considering if there are any situations where the current tests can be used informatively on a large scale. PCR is also used to enhance detection of M.bovis in bacterial culture and the EU Reference Laboratory for bovine tuberculosis has also assessed the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. (https://www.visavet.es/bovinetuberculosis/ring-trials.php).

Defra continues to review evidence of effectiveness of the potential diagnostic application of PCR in other situations.