Why is nobody, especially fish and game agencies, promoting the usage of hypochlorous acid (HCOl) as a way to deactivate prions to mitigate exposure and their spread?
All that we seem to hear is that they are indestructible except by bleach or super high temperatures…. but this NIH study from > 3 years ago shows otherwise.
Seems to be an effective way to get rid of these prions without destroying what it is you are trying to decontaminate!
Hi – this is interesting and it looks like hypochlorous acid is available to the average consumer? Is this something you can treat items that come into contact with an infected animal’s fluids etc and it would de-activate the prions?
Seems odd this is not widely being touted by fish and game agencies as a way to get rid of prions?
Thanks for the good article and a special thanks to all the researchers out there trying to make sense of all this!
Here is a question for researchers. It seems that for scientists; and not to mention the average person/hunter out there, CWD prions are impossible to stop spreading given how prions bind to things?
Given the nature of CWD prions, how some studies show they can remain in soils, plants, bind to steel and/or other surfaces, and can only be “destroyed” via extremely destructive procedures that are not available to the average person (outside of bleach on steel surfaces only, see latest 10/19 study https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/household-bleach-inactivates-chronic-wasting-disease-prions) it appears they *bind* to absolutely anything they come in contact with.
People can wear rubber gloves, minimize handling of brain and spinal cord tissues etc. get animals tested and make a personal choice on whether or not to consume the meat…. but at the end of the day aren’t the prions already spread over everything that any part of an infected animal come into contact with?
Lets say I wear rubber gloves, and completely process an animal properly following all recommended procedures as published by most fish and game agencies….. I bag the meat up and throw it in a frame pack to haul out of the field. Anyone who has ever hunted knows this is not a clean room laboratory environment. Blood gets on things, pants, backpack, clothes etc. Maybe a drop of spinal column fluid ends up on a glove, that then touches my pack etc. Prions on are now on my game bags and potentially on my frame pack, and eventually in my truck bed etc.
They are also likely on boots if we get any blood/fluids on them, and with every step they being spread everywhere someone walks?
What about the head I handle w/ gloves in the field? Well it ends up in the back of people’s trucks, on to a taxidermist etc. Even after the brains and spinal cord/column is properly removed, aren’t prions still bound in the skulls? even after boiling or European mount procedures (using borax, whitening etc)?
What about when those clothes that had contact w/ an infected deer during processing, go into someones washer/dryer… those prions are now bound to that equipment as well?
It just seems to me that these prions are likely already spread all of the place by anyone who happens to even come into casual contact with any part of handling game animals. From reading about CWD prions wouldn’t one venture to guess they are already in hundreds of thousands of hunters trucks, clothing and houses w/ taxidermy etc?
Thoughts? Would like some clarity on what prions bind and don’t bind to.
Just because this hasn’t been 100% proven to affect humans YET means nothing. Every other TSE can jump the species barrier with impunity so it’s but a matter of time before CWD does too. This isn’t about spreading fear or panic; it’s about preventing a disaster so it doesn’t come to a point where we NEED to panic. Prion diseases are nothing to mess with.
Maybe you’ve heard of the Kentucky cluster of CJD caused by hunters eating squirrel brains–long considered a safe local delicacy? I understand outdoorsmen/women can be traditional & slow to embrace change, but better safe than sorry with something like this. The incubation period for CWD is long & deer or elk may not show symptoms for many months or years before falling ill. Meanwhile they can transmit the infectious prion to other cervids or various animals they come in contact with. (Possibly humans eventually).
Thank you to the hunters & processing companies that have taken a stand & changed their behavior in light of this disease. Some things are more important than hobbies or profits.
Thank you, Waste Not. I don’t think I came across a mention of a TSE of squirrels in my research (I did find mentions of TSEs in sheep, goats, minks and cats), but now that I’ve looked, there is plenty of documentation out there on vCJD in people who ate squirrel brains in Kentucky. I appreciate the info.
Ticks (Lyme’s) won’t keep me from the woods, and dying from a possible disease isn’t going to stop me from eating deer…
Death; we all have it coming…& dying from doing what you love is not the worst thing I can think of…
This was published April 25, 2018. Let us not create hysteria, find the truth, go through peer review, then release the findings.
It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people about this subject, but you sound
like you know what you’re talking about!
Re inactivation of CWD, in 2016 we published with collaborators at US NIH on the inactivation of scrapie, CJD , BSE and CWD using a preparation of pure and stable hypochlorous acid (PLOS Pathogens. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005914. Sept 2016.) This solution inactivates prions quickly and to a high level, proven by inoculation of treated scrapie prions intracerebrally in Tg mice. The product is about as benign as you could wish for, you can spray it in your eyes, and yet the myth persists that nothing works to inactivate these proteins. Our findings have been confirmed at the FDA research labs in Silver Spring, and we are getting ready to publish a couple more papers on inactivating prions with solutions that have been stored for long periods, and exposed to high temperatures (70C). This is a real and reproducible effect, needs to be taken notice of in discussions about decontamination, and there may be useful ways to deploy it in handling contaminated equipment, tools, and even carcases.
This map shows to be current 2018 but based on what I know they are not including a lot of places that I know about. There were 2 captive breeders (at least that were shut down in East Texas (border of Oklahoma) not to mention all the hoops tpwd are jumping through for 2018/2019 https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/diseases/cwd/
I have a couple of issues with this information as a whole, not because I do not believe it but because the optics on it are bad. I do not see anyway you can have a CWD positive animal that was killed in the field and not end up with prions in the meat. Even if you took a clean heat shot your going to end up with spinal matter everywhere and if you can not kill it with a,b,c,d, or e then there appears to be no way to kill it once you have gotten it on something, you can not just wash it off. So now you have prions everywhere what difference does it make that you separate venison from everything else. One guy brings in a CWD animal and the facility need to be burned to the ground. Which brings me to my final point. If you have a facility that is trying to do CWD research how do they isolate those monkeys from each other and everything else especially over 5+ years. The protocols would have to go beyond DNA testing protocols and probably something that should only be done at a super max facility dealing with the deadliest of pathogens. This just densest all make sense to me.
There is also the question of whether infected or suspected carcasses of elk or deer or cows are properly disposed of. The easies and cheapest manner is not enough to ensure killing off those pesky prions.
I’m a Wyoming based biologist and cartographer that has been following chronic wasting disease closely for the past several years. This article does a commendable job of summarizing many of the challenging scientific, political, and social aspects of the topic. Head and shoulders above 95% of articles popping up on Google Alerts. Nice work.
In line with the “it’s all about how you look at it” vein of the article, how about “controversial” scientists claiming that the causal agents of CWD are actually bacterial or viral, rather than prion?
Although the study in Canada indicated that it was possible that CWD could transmit to monkeys, this result was obtained using an assay that is not considered to be conclusive for diagnosing CWD. False positives are problematic using this assay. Furthermore, the animals did not display symptoms consistent with the clinical stage of CWD. Symptoms of CWD can mimic symptoms of other diseases and disorders, particularly in aged animals. The gold standard is this field is an animal bioassay where brain material from infected animals is fed to or injected into the brain of recipient animals. This experiment was done by NIH researchers, and a research paper was written in 2014 that showed macaques were NOT susceptible to CWD (Race et. al., 2014). In my opinion, the Canadian study is not conclusive since it does not use the most sensitive method available to detect prion diseases and instead uses a diagnostic test that still is not validated for diagnosis. Furthermore, the epidemiological data do not support the theory that CWD passes to humans.
Does anybody remember BSE or Mad Cow disease? This was thought to be impossible to transmit to humans. Some weasel words were used “there is no evidence that BSE can be transmitted from cattle to humans.”
The disease was eventually linked to CJD in humans which takes years to develop.
“No evidence for” is not the same as “evidence against”, and we should always prick our ears up when we hear it.
To All hunters,
Prions are amyloid proteins that build up in the tissues of the CWD-affected deer. Amyloid proteins do not proliferate but can increase in amount biochemically. Bacteria can induce formation of these amyloid proteins. These amyloid proteins (prions) are not infectious.
Research shows that the cause of CWD is a tiny bacterium. We have now grown this bacterium in broth culture and on agar plates so we now can develop a diagnostic test. This will be very important since the deer shows at least a 10 month incubation period where the deer is infectious yet shows no clinical signs. There is no way to recognize an infected deer until the last stages of the disease.
Vaccines are common in controlling bacterial diseases. Brucella is controlled by a vaccine. You all know about pneumococcal vaccine. There are no antibiiotics that kill spiroplasma. There is no workable diagnostic serological test for the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. CWD has been experimentally transferred to cattle so I wouldn’t be secure in any natural barrier to infection. The incubation period for CWD may last months. The animals appear normal during the first 10 months of the incubation period.
Spiroplasma can be cultured and studied. A diagnostic test is now possible so that the CWD-affected animals can be culled. The diseased animals will be recognized by a simple serological test.
The source of the organism in nature can now be determined. Since the spiroplasma forms colonies on agar plates, we can now determine sensitivity to new antibiotics. A preventive vaccine is now possible.
We need more laboratories working on this problem from this perspective and that is why I published the method of isolation so any researchers with access to CWD materials can contribute.
Dr. Frank Bastian
TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018
Chronic wasting disease: Bambi vs. the prion
Research Project: Immunodiagnostics to Detect Prions and Other Important Animal Pathogens
Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research
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