Scientists Detect Pathogen Invaders Non-invasively

Scientists are finding more creative—and less invasive—ways to identify dangerous pathogens in wild and domestic animals. According to a report published in Science, portable air samplers, ropes, and electrostatic dust-collecting cloths are among the tools increasingly being used to collect biological samples without subjecting the animals to stress. Preliminary studies indicate these methods can be simpler, faster, cheaper, and safer to use compared to traditional techniques, which can involve capturing, handling, drawing blood from, and/or anesthetizing animals. University of California, Davis scientists, for example, found four viruses from saliva samples obtained from wild primates offered ropes lathered with jelly and banana baby food. In the Netherlands, dust-collecting cloths revealed pathogens in a chicken barn. Such methods could have numerous applications, including collecting samples from bat caves using drones equipped with air sampling devices.

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