On Friday, November 5, 2021, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) made a formal announcement regarding the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) national shortage of prion testing reagents utilized to complete immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

At that time, TVMDL engaged NAHLN, USDA- National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA/NVSL), other CWD testing labs in the U.S. and Canada, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in daily communications to explore expedient solutions.

As of Friday, November 12, 2021, TVMDL exhausted their supply of prion kits and are unable to perform the IHC test. As all CWD testing labs have been affected by the shortage, there are no other labs available to assist TVMDL with IHC testing. The estimated timeframe for getting more IHC testing kits is mid-December.

USDA Cervid staff have determined that deer in the CWD Herd Certification Program (HCP) administered by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) are not eligible to be tested by ELISA. While antemortem samples are not eligible for the ELISA test, postmortem samples from penned deer not in the CWD HCP are eligible. The ELISA test requires fresh, not formalin-fixed, samples submitted within seven (7) days of collection.

The TAHC advises deer breeders enrolled in the CWD HCP to continue to collect the required postmortem samples and fix them in formalin. All samples collected must be submitted to TVMDL within seven days of collection and will be IHC tested upon the availability of test kits.

TVMDL staff continue to prepare all CWD antemortem test samples, a process which takes two days, so that they may be stained as soon as the reagent is made available. TVMDL will continue communications with the reagent supplier and NVSL/USDA to maintain an up-to-date timeline of when reagents will be available. TVMDL and TPWD have indicated they will continue to update permitted deer breeders as to the status of this situation on a regular basis.

Please direct any questions that you may have regarding the reagent shortage to TVMDL. Please contact TPWD or your TAHC Region Office regarding CWD sample collecting.

Thank you,

Texas Animal Health Commission

One thought on “National Shortage of Prion Testing Reagents Utilized for CWD Testing”
  1. that’s not good…


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