London Telegraph (Internet / Print) 07/07/06 A test has been developed that offers the first real hope that scientists will be able to identify early those people carrying the human form of mad cow disease. People could be infected with vCJD for more than half a century without developing the illness. An American team today announces a blood test that can identify carriers of the disease. If the test is validated it would mark the most significant development in the understanding of the disease for many years. Discussions have already started with British authorities to use it in a screening programme. These extraordinary possibilities are raised by a study published today in the journal Science by Dr Paula Saá, Prof Claudio Soto and Prof Joaquin Castilla, at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.