RALEIGH, N.C. — The first case of mad cow disease in the United States cooked up fears, but a solution to the disease is being developed out of N.C. State's Centennial Campus.
"Through our research, we've developed the enzyme that has the ability to break down the infectious agent responsible for causing mad cow disease," said Dr. Giles Shih, of BioResource International.
N.C. State scientist Jason Shih first found the enzyme back in the late 1980s on research about chicken feathers. Years later, Jason Shih realized it could be used to fight mad cow, so his son, Giles, founded BioResource International with the goal of getting a product on the market.
"In the next few months, we will be working with the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) to validate the process in terms of whether the application will be a spray on a contaminated surface or mix it into their feed," Giles Shih said.
The research also has the support of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Food and Drug Administration.
"If we can isolate the animal and clean up the environment, a second group of animals can come in and be free and be safe," Jason Shih said.
The method could be used to decontaminate cattle feed and machines. It proved successful in a test tube. Beginning in January, it will be tested on mice.
BioResource International hopes to land a research grant and corporate partner to develop a commercial product. They aim to have a product on the market by 2005.