A new blood test to detect Mycobacteria in blood has been developed by a team at The University of Nottingham led by Dr Cath Rees, an expert in microbiology in the School of Biosciences and Dr Ben Swift from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. The researchers have used this new method to show that cattle diagnosed with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) have detectable levels of the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) in their blood which causes this disease. ‘Evidence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteraemia in intradermal skin test positive cattle detected using phage-RPA’ has been published online in the peer reviewed medical journal Virulence. This new, simple and inexpensive blood test detects very low levels of mycobacteria in blood using a bacteriophage-based technique. The group has patented an improved version of the method that delivers results in just six hours. More recently ‘proof of principal’ experiments have shown that this is even more sensitive.