Detection of Hepatitis E virus in slaughterhouse pork.


International trading of food from animal sources is very intensive. Regulations decree that
the production of animal products is free from zoonoses that can affect humans. Hepatitis E
virus (HEV) can cause liver disease in humans and the chain of transmission from pork meat
to humans has been well established. The WHO report that worldwide every year there are an
estimated 20 million HEV infections, over 3 million acute cases of HEV and 57,000 HEVrelated
deaths. HEV is usually self-limiting but may develop into fulminant hepatitis, casuing
acute liver failure. HEV is transmitted via the faecal-oral route. Prevalence is highest in East
and South Asia, where mortality is between 1% and 4% and in pregnant women can reach
25%. There is no treatment for acute hepatitis; prevention is the most effective approach
against the disease, hence the need for a cost effective detection system at the slaughterhouse
to avoid zoonotic infection via the food chain.
Building on and developing MIATech’s previous work in food contamination, this project
aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a magnetometer lateral flow (MLF) assay for the rapid
detection and confirmation of HEV in pig meat at the slaughterhouse. This will offer the
advantage of immediate, on the spot results, avoiding inventory awaiting positive release and
significantly reducing the risk of costly product recalls. The new magnetometer immuno-assay
(MIA) system is based on a unique combination of immuno-magnetic capture of paramagnetic
particles (beads) with highly sensitive magnetometer instrumentation to detect and quantify
HEV. The project will also investigate the potential for a loop-mediated isothermal
amplification (LAMP)-based HEV confirmatory assay, which will immediately be able to
confirm suspect positive samples at the slaughterhouse and avoid the potential for costly false
positive results.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Miatech Biosolutions Limited, SALISBURY £138,609 £ 83,165


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