WCS Validates Canine Distemper Virus qPCR Test on Biomeme Platform

Amur Tiger resting on the ground

Ania Tomaszewicz Brown, Denise McAloose, Paul P. Calle, Angelika Auer, Annika Posautz, Sally Slavinski, Robin Brennan, Chris Walzer, and Tracie A. Seimon developed a quantitative RT-PCR assay for Canine distemper virus (CDV) using our handheld two3™ qPCR thermocycler. CDV is a multi-host pathogen that can cause significant mortality in domestic, wild terrestrial and marine mammals. It is a major conservation threat in some endangered species. Infection can result in severe respiratory disease and fatal encephalitis.

Biomeme's extraction methodology, lyophilized reagents, and two3™ thermocycler were compared to standard laboratory-based methods to assess sensitivity, efficiency and overall test performance. Key takeaways include:

  • Results using a positive control plasmid for CDV showed comparable sensitivity (detection of 50 copies) and PCR efficiency between the two platforms, and CDV detection was similar between platforms when tested using a modified live CDV vaccine.
  • Significantly higher Ct values (average Ct = 5.1 cycles) were observed using the Biomeme platform on known CDV positive animal samples.
  • CDV detection using the Biomeme platform was similar in 25 of 26 samples from suspect CDV cases when compared to standard virology laboratory testing.
  • One false positive was observed that was negative upon retest.
  • Biomeme’s methodology eliminated the need for local or international sample transport typically seen in laboratory-based diagnostics.
  • Results of their testing suggested that decreased diagnostic sensitivity (higher Ct values) relative to laboratory-based methods was observed using animal samples, so careful validation and optimization are essential. (Biomeme’s two3™ qPCR thermocycler has since been retired and replaced with our latest Franklin™ qPCR thermocycler)

Read the full research article over at PLOS ONE to learn how portable qPCR platforms can empower biologists and wildlife health professionals in remote and low-resource settings to greatly improve their understanding of CDV disease ecology and associated conservation threats in wildlife.

Biomeme is supporting a number of Wildlife Conservation Society initiatives, including Border Control and eDNA Detection of Endangered Species:

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From everyone at Biomeme to our long time collaborators, thank you for giving our platform a chance and congratulations on a strong publication!

For those interested in conducting a study using our portable, field-ready platform, shoot us a message and let us know what you’re working on. Let’s Talk!



Tomaszewicz Brown A, McAloose D, Calle PP, Auer A, Posautz A, Slavinski S, et al. (2020) Development and validation of a portable, point-of-care canine distemper virus qPCR test. PLoS ONE 15(4): e0232044. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232044