Protecting EU's herds Goat and sheep production across the EU can be seriously impeded by the risks of Small Ruminant LentiViruses (SRLV) infection. There are currently no available treatments against these infectious agents and therefore the main protection of herds is the timely detection and removal of infected animals. Health © PhotoDisc The EU's SLRV-C project set out to the develop reliable tests that would allow researchers to detect the presence of the viral genome in the blood stream of the animals. Current tests only detect the presence of antibodies, which denotes a much later stage of infection, increasing the risk of infection to other animals. Project partner Institut Pourquier developed two PCR kit prototypes for sheep and goats. The ability of these tests to accurately detect viral genome in infected animals has been demonstrated. These innovative tests are likely to constitute a new means of protection against infection by providing reliable results from tests on semen used for artificial insemination. Further positive implications from the use of these tests are expected in the adequate protection of viral-free herds, during the import of new flocks and/or individual animals. Overall, the increased reliability of PCR testing compared to conventional serological tests allows for better protected goat and sheep herds across the EU minimising the risk of SLRV infections. The developed PCR tests need to be further optimised and their sensitivity needs to be improved, however, they present potential collaborators with an attractive market opportunity.