Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer is a disease of the brain caused by protein infective agents called prions. Prions replicate and circulate in the deer’s body, eventually accumulating in the brain and other tissues. The disease is always fatal for deer, eventually causing them to waste away and die. For hunters and their families, CWD has become a significant concern. While there is no proof that CWD does transfer to humans, a similar prion disease, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, has jumped to humans.  Chronic wasting disease has been detected in 30 US states and four Canadian provinces in free-ranging cervids and/or commercial captive cervid facilities.

CWD miRNA Test

All animals produce miRNA biomarkers in their bodies. Animals that are being challenged by pathogens have changed biomarker profiles. Convergent A+H, in collaboration with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, has developed a CWD micro-RNA test that identifies deer that have been exposed to chronic wasting disease (CWD) prions. The test can be performed using blood samples taken from a live deer. The samples can be collected by hunters in the field, vets at penned deer operations or by state wildlife agencies at surveillance stations. The samples can be processed by an agency, university or private veterinarian lab that has licensed the test and purchased reagents Convergent’s partner, Qiagen. Once samples are received by the lab, the test takes approximately two hours to complete. The raw data from the tests are uploaded to Convergent’s web portal and processed using Convergent’s proprietary AI algorithm.