US Navy ships now feature bird flu testing labs

Ships in the US Seventh Fleet, based in Japan, have been equipped with the world's first on-board avian flu testing laboratories.

Veredus Laboratories was approached by the US Navy over a year ago to develop H5N1 testing facilities on board the flagship USS Blue Ridge and the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, according to Rosemary Tan, chief executive of the company.

The Seventh Fleet has 50 vessels and 20,000 active personnel who conduct missions in such bird flu hot spots as Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries.

Captain Charles Baxter told The Straits Times that on-board testing capabilities were essential, and that the DNA-based test kit was one of the most advanced in the market.

It requires only a small blood sample from the test subject. Results are available in four hours, compared with 10 days for other kits.

Editor WorldPoultry

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