New and exciting research on CWD has recently hit the hunting headlines. CWD or chronic wasting disease, is similar to mad cow disease, scrapies in sheep, CJD in humans. It basically turns a deers brain into a sponge and then kills it over a couple of years. The new claim is that CWD is caused by a bacteria called spiroplasma not a prion (miss formed protein).
A few things to note about CWD. It was first discovered in the 1960s. It has been discovered in 24 states and will effect deer, elk, and moose. Many people believe it is the biggest threat to wildlife in North America, while others believe it is little more than a hoax.
The new research was done at LSU by Dr. Bastian, and released February 4. He has discovered that spiroplasma bacteria are present in CWD infected deer, Scrapie infected sheep, and CJD infected humans. Dr. Bastian believes this bacteria is the cause of CWD. Prions were always present in CWD infected deer, so Dr. Bastian believes that we erroneously attributed the prions to CWD. According to Dr. Bastian He believes that a simple antibiotic could cure the disease. This research is promising but not conclusive at this point. We will probably find out if he is correct within the next year.
In 2005 similar research was done, but did not come to the same conclusion. In Dr Bastian paper he addresses this research. He went back and retested some of the samples from the 2005 study. The findings backed his new research.
Dr Bastian needs $100k to develop an antibiotic to cure CWD. He also hopes to produce a kit for hunters to test their deer in the field as soon as they shoot them.
One thing that makes me suspicious of this research is how over stated the press conference was. It was stated that CWD would lead deer elk and moose to extinction and the loss of our 2nd amendment rights. We were then told that Dr Bastian will receive a noble piece prize and he needs $100K to further his research.
This latest research could be the miracle we were all waiting for, or it could be nothing at all. I really hope that Dr. Bastian is correct and can come up with the solutions he believes he can. I will withhold judgment until he develops the antibiotic to cure CWD.
Here is the full press conference so you can hear for yourself.