Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Gamma Interferon Validation Project

Dianne Summers of the TB Support group has asked us to Post this
very important announcement.

It is with great pleasure I can announce we have reached the 300 alpacas from Tb Free Areas to start the validation project.

I have known this for about a week but I needed to get Mike Birch's approval to release the news.

So you see hard work and tenacity does pay off - Mike Birch and I have attended meetings - given data - worked closely with the VLA at Weybridge and thanks so much to Mike Birch for the hard work he has put into acquiring the 300 alpacas that are needed. We have an awful lot to thank him for. He is a superb BAS Chair and he has worked so hard on the TB issue with me for well over a year now. Who would have thought when we attended the Gamma Project meeting in March this year that just 2 months later we are on our way.

We have to give a huge heartfelt thanks to those kind alpaca owners who have come forward and contributed to the 300 - we cannot thank you enough. The camelid industry has so much to thank you for. Thanks doesn't seem to be a strong enough word to use - unsung hero's would be more fitting..

A huge thanks to Martin and Shelley at the VLA Weybridge for the work they have done on this project and to DEFRA/AH all of whom are involved.

Thanks to BAS and BCL for funding this project - I myself believe this is the most important project our industries have had to face and I am delighted our funds are being spent on this.

Thanks to Dr Gina Bromage for her hard work on the Tb Awareness meetings and for all her help and advice she has given the Tb Support Group - Gina has had to suffer constant emails from me since Sept 08.

Lastly we have to thank my members of the TB Support Group who agreed to use the gamma on their herds and therefore produce the data that has driven this project along. If no one had agreed to do the test in the first place we wouldn't be here now. It had to be trialed on herds under restriction first so we have to thank them for agreeing to use an unvalidated test in the hope it works but with the knowledge that IF it did then it would benefit the camelid industry in the future. They could have simply had 2 rounds of skin test gone clear but they didn't so these people should be thanked and appreciated. They are the reason we are at this point.

Lets hope this is validated we know the specificity v sensitivity and the
importance of both and lets hope and pray we could possibly be on the verge of a reliable ante mortem test. This is a huge step in the right direction.

To think back in Sept 08 when I was screaming from the roof tops that we need a reliable test - and for want of a better word the vile behaviour I had to endure and still do from certain members of the alpaca industry - even I didn't think it would ever happen. So hard work does pay off and I have dedicated about 4 hours a day every day - 7 days a week since Sept 08 on TB in Alpacas. In a strange way I have to thank those who have vilified me and made my life a misery because every time they did it made me shout even louder and made me even more determined to get the message out there. I knew by forming the TB Support Group and collating the data that in the future I hoped a reliable test would be produced. Lets hope for all our
sakes it has.

I know this post is full of a lot of thank yous but we have a lot of people to thank. We all complain at the simplest thing but how often do we thank people. Ask yourself that.

Dianne Summers
TB Support Group
01209 822422

We all think that the biggest thank-you should actually go to Dianne Summers herself. None of this research, or the TB Roadshows, would have taken place without her tireless campaigning. None of us would know about the dangers of TB in camelids and would have entered our alpacas in shows this year completely ignorant of the risks involved. Dianne has enabled us to make informed choices and thus keep our animals safe and contain the spread of this infection. So thank you Dianne and keep up the good work.


  1. Without the support group run by Dianne Summers we would not know much at all about TB in camelids. Anyone who thinks this isn't the most significant risk to our future is doing the industry, and alpacas, a great disservice.

    Well done Di and keep up your amazing work.

  2. Yes fanatastic work Di, thank you so much. We all owe you.

  3. CONGRATULATIONS to all camelid owners.
    There is at last light at the end of the tunnel !!!
    Without the hard work of Di and others, I truly believe we would be a long way from where we are now. Thank you all for what you have done. It means that after 2 years Nigel and I will not have to watch every cough and sneeze with trepidation and get up every morning with a feeling of who's next? If any of our animals test positive, then they will be put down immediately. At last we will know. We must all keep up with our stringent bio security measures; alpacas can still catch TB.

  4. Linda Richardson31 May 2010 at 16:13

    I agree - all the thanks should be directed to Dianne. She has shown true grit and amazing courage in the face of adversity. She deserves recognition for her hard work and dogged determination to help all our alpacas.

  5. Dianne Summers1 June 2010 at 10:25

    Thank you so very much Linda for your kind comments - I cannot tell you the vile behaviour from some in the alpaca community I have had to endure. I do what I do in the hope to prevent good people like yourself
    having to go through the distress of losing your alapcas to TB. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Thank you.