Ignacio López-Goñi and David García, researchers of the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology of the University of Navarra, have launched a new product for the detection and characterization of the Brucella bacteria, which is the causative agent for brucellosis, also known as Mediterranean fever. Their product is a commercial analysis kit, sold under the brand name “Bruce-ladder,” and was developed in collaboration with Ingenasa, a Madrid-based business dedicated to applied biotechnology in the areas of animal and human health and food safety. Bruce-ladder permits the identification and differentiation of the microorganism via the amplification of sequences of specific genes using the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technique. In order to develop this product, these microbiologists of the School of Sciences analyzed the complete sequences of the genomes of various distinct species of Brucella, which permitted them to design a system capable of differentiating them in a single test, and in less than 24 hours. The novelty of this techniques derives from the fact that is able to distinguish all the known species of Brucella, including vaccine lines and the isolated species present in marine mammals. "Up to now, differentiation of Brucella was only performed in central laboratories, by means of complicated biochemical and serological techniques, handling the bacteria themselves, which involved a risk for the laboratory personnel. Now, with this new molecular test, the bacteria samples can be analyzed in a simpler and more rapid manner, without having to handle the bacteria directly", as the microbiologists of the University of Navarra explained. The kit has been tested by various leading laboratories in France, Belgium and Portugal, and has been approved by the National Brucellosis Reference Center, in Granada. Brucellosis is an infectious disease which affects both livestock and persons. According to the World Health Organization, brucellosis is part of a group of diseases, which also includes rabies and anthrax, which are considered “forgotten” diseases, and are strongly related to poverty. The incidence of brucellosis is very high in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, and it is a factor in the lack of economic progress and development in these areas of the world. This new kit will aid in its diagnosis, and will permit epidemiological studies which will help to control and eventually eradicate the disease.