World's first poultry biochip launched in Singapore

An inspection officer from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), at Tuas Checkpoint inspecting trucks carrying chickens, ducks or eggs from West Malaysia on Jan 21, 2015. The AVA and Veredus Laboratories have launched the wo
An inspection officer from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), at Tuas Checkpoint inspecting trucks carrying chickens, ducks or eggs from West Malaysia on Jan 21, 2015. The AVA and Veredus Laboratories have launched the world's first poultry biochip, which can identify nine major poultry diseases in one sample. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - The world's first poultry biochip, which can identify nine major poultry diseases in one sample, was launched on Tuesday.

The VereVet biochip was developed by scientists from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Veredus Laboratories, a supplier of molecular diagnostic tools, who worked on it for five years.

Currently, different samples need to be taken from a bird for each test for different diseases.

In a joint statement, the AVA and Veredus said the biochip can test for Newcastle disease virus, salmonella pullorum, salmonella enteritidis, campylobacter and all subtypes of the avian influenza (bird flu) virus.

It said: "Dr Huangfu Taoqi, principal scientist at the Animal Health Laboratory of AVA, led a team from AVA and Veredus to successfully validate the performance of the Poultry Lab-on-Chip. Extensive evaluations on the avian influenza virus and Newcastle disease virus were conducted at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Australia."

The scientific details of these tests will be presented at the 17th International Symposium of World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians in Saskatoon, Canada, on Tuesday.

AVA's CEO Tan Poh Hong said: "Singapore is free from bird flu. However it continues to plague other countries in the region as well as other parts of the world. With the emergence of new strains, it may be a challenge to quickly identify the strain in question.

"The new Lab-on-Chip, capable of rapidly identifying multiple poultry pathogens in one sample, enables authorities to take appropriate actions. This will, in turn, strengthen animal and public health for the region."