Convergent Animal Health Expands Proprietary
Next Generation mi-RNA Biomarker Test

Partnership with TTUH Attracts $250K Funding for Chronic Wasting Disease Test

OCTOBER 24, 2023 — Lubbock, TX — Convergent Animal Health announced today that strategic partner Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) has been granted $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to validate Convergent Animal Health’s miRNA test in response to concerns about the increasing frequency of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a prion disease, attacks a deer’s brain function much like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) — a prion disease also known as Mad Cow disease — attacks a cow’s brain, slowly destroying the brain and spinal cord. The USDA grant includes funding to validate deer hunters collecting samples from their deer to test for CWD prion exposure. CWD has been detected in cervids in 21 states including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The Convergent A-H CWD exposure test is a revolutionary patented micro-RNA (miRNA) muscle tissue test that allows hunters to test their deer for exposure to CWD prions even if the deer shows no CWD symptoms. Convergent A-H’s easy-to-use in-field collection kit will allow hunters to send a sample of muscle tissue to a lab for rapid testing to confirm whether their venison is safe for consumption, or whether the deer is unsafe due to exposure to CWD prions. Animal studies suggest CWD poses a risk to certain primates that consume meat from or come in contact with CWD-infected animals, thus raising concerns about CWD risks to humans. Since 1997, the World Health Organization has maintained the importance of keeping all known prion diseases from entering the human food chain. Given that Americans consume on average 315 million pounds of venison annually, the USDA’s expanded funding allows Convergent Animal Health to gain additional data points and insight into this contagious prion disease.

“We developed this convenient, affordable test to protect hunters from venison that has been exposed to CWD prions,” said Dr. Rick Vierling, Co-Founder of Convergent Animal Health. “When CWD data showed that both pen-raised and wild deer were increasingly infected with this fatal disease, we began to develop this next-generation test to allow hunters, deer breeders, and regulatory agencies to determine — even in the absence of overt CWD symptoms – whether their deer was exposed to CWD prions,” continued Vierling.

About Convergent Animal Health

Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and founded in 2021 by a team of geneticists, and data scientists, the mission of Convergent Animal Health is to transform rapid animal testing and surveillance of viruses and pathogens that infect mammals and avian species by leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, to map out zoonotic disease risks, and provide predictive insights and quantitative mitigation tools based on rapid test-and-sequence protocols. Convergent A-H believes that the ultimate pandemic risk mitigation rests in converging presymptomatic rapid animal testing with data-driven broad serological human surveillance, and developed a proprietary platform to implement this vision. With deep roots in advanced livestock testing for cattle respiratory and other diseases, the company’s patented next-generation micro-RNA (miRNA) biomarker test for the presence of abnormal prions in white tailed deer, mule deer and other wild and pen-raised cervids 6 months of age and older can detect when animals have been exposed to pathogens before symptoms are evident and is also applicable to other prion diseases such as BSE and scrapie. Convergent A-H, in collaboration with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, is working to further develop this revolutionary in-field CWD collection kit to test for a range of pathogens in other mammalian and avian species.

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