Rapid Test to Detect Bovine Coronavirus and Rotavirus




Calf diarrhea, commonly called scours, remains a problem in the beef and dairy industries. In fact, more than half of unweaned dairy heifers that contract scours die according to a recent USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) report. Calves that survive have lifelong poorer performance than healthy calves.


When a serious unexpected outbreak occurs, the remedial actions include identifying the causes and strengthening the precautionary measures. Veterinary assistance is required to get a proper diagnosis, which may involve laboratory tests. Fecal samples from scouring calves can be sent to the nearest veterinary laboratory for isolation of infective organisms. A reliable method to identify and treat the disease is needed.


Description of Technology


Michigan State University’s invention provides a multiplex PCR test that allows for rapid, sensitive, and specific detection of bovine rotavirus, bovine coronavirus, cryptosporidium parvum, and K99 positive E. coli (i.e., agents that cause scours in calves) in a single test. The assay is able to quantify and detect small quantities of the three pathogens. Cryptosproridium antigen detection can only be completed by using PCR.


Key Benefits

  • Faster, less costly method: This assay can detect multiple pathogens simultaneously at the cost of running only one PCR run.
  • Eliminates false negatives that occur with ELISA methods: E. coli and coronavirus must be present in certain concentrations at set stages of infection to be detected in antibody ELISA tests, but the multiplex PCR can detect these pathogens at any concentration and stage of infection.




The test would be useful for veterinary diagnostic companies for use their laboratories or distributed as a kit to other animal diagnostic laboratories.


Patent Status


U.S. patent 6,867,021




Roger Maes, Annabel Wise


Tech ID




Alternative contact due to temporary leave:


Nina (Isi) Davis, Technology Marketing Manager, email: davisnin@msu.edu, phone (direct): (517)884-1829. 


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Randy Ramharack
Technology Manager
Michigan State University