SOURCE: GeneThera, Inc.

April 10, 2007 10:45 ET

Mad Cow: Is America Next?

WHEAT RIDGE, CO -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 10, 2007 -- GeneThera, Inc. (OTCBB: GTHA).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in March it was reducing its national Mad Cow testing and tracking programs by 90 percent. The USDA will reduce its cattle-testing level to 40,000 cattle per year down from an average of about 360,000 cattle. The reduced testing level will cost $8 million a year. USDA said it will focus on the "most at-risk animals" that show demonstrated signs of the disease.

The decision on whether to cut back on tests was made after experts reviewed a draft analysis of data on almost 700,000 animals screened since June 2004. During that same time span, the United States slaughtered approximately 100 million cattle.

Currently, the U.S. government tests only 1 percent of the roughly 100,000 cattle slaughtered daily while the USDA's revised plan calls for testing only 0.11 percent. Many European countries and Japan are testing all slaughtered cattle. Additionally, the agency has backed off plans for a mandatory animal-tracking system, which can help identify the source of an infection and other animals at risk, and now says the program will be voluntary.

Commenting on the news, Dr. Tony Milici Chairman & CEO of GeneThera noted, "The USDA decision to greatly reduce testing for Mad Cow Disease is a matter of great concern. Despite the USDA reassuring statements about the safety of the US beef, it is far from clear, at the present time, what is the real impact of Mad Cow Disease on the cattle population in this country. Several issues also exist about the accuracy of the technology that has been used to test for Mad Cow Disease. Present techniques may not be able to detect the presence of the disease in all infected animals especially in the early stages of infection."

USDA's inspector general has criticized the USDA's testing program, saying it could have missed the highest-risk animals. The expanded system was voluntary, so it might not have captured a representative sample of the nation's herd. "It's as though the USDA was designing a 'don't look, don't find' system," said Michael Hansen, staff scientist for Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. Consumers Union thinks 100 percent of livestock should be tested. "If you do testing of 100 percent of your animals, any ones that test positive never go into the food chain," said Michael Hansen. The agriculture secretary responded by saying that the people who are saying 100 percent testing "somehow solves the problem really are misleading you. Consumers should feel better than ever about the meat that they are buying."

However, the USDA's testing program is not random. The program is voluntary and beef processors are paid to bring in test samples. Since a diseased sample would result in serious ramifications for the slaughterhouse, there is an incentive to pick samples from healthier-looking cattle.

In a letter to the FDA, McDonald's Corporation (owner of the fast food chain) "...caution[ed] against using the 18 month enhanced surveillance as a justification to relax or impede further actions. While this surveillance indicates an epidemic is not underway, it does not clear the US cattle herd from infection." McDonald's further stated, "[c]oncerning [Mad Cow], the most effective way to insure [the highest level of safety is] to create a system that processes cattle that are not exposed to the disease. ...The exemptions in the current ban as well as in the newly proposed rule make this difficult if not impossible, as there are still legal avenues for ruminants to consume potentially contaminated ruminant protein." McDonald's further stated that according to "the FDA's own statement ... tissues which are known to have infectivity (such as distal ileum, DRGs, etc) would cumulatively amount to approximately 10% of the infectivity in an infected animal. Leaving approximately 10% of the infectious tissues in the system is not good enough. The proposed rule still allows the possibility for cattle to be exposed to Mad Cow.

Furthermore, the USDA inspector general found that government inspectors sometimes allowed cattle that couldn't walk (a potential sign of Mad Cow disease) to be slaughtered, contrary to department rules aimed at preventing Mad Cow disease. The report said that at two of 12 slaughter plants reviewed, 29 non-ambulatory cattle were slaughtered in a 10-month period. The report also stated that when field scientists recommended re-testing of a cow suspected of having Mad Cow disease last year, they were overruled by USDA officials who feared a positive finding might undermine confidence in the testing program. Auditors from the inspector general's office intervened, and the specimen was sent to England for retesting. It produced the second confirmed case of Mad Cow disease in the nation.

Which leaves the question -- is our beef really Mad Cow safe?


GeneThera, Inc. is a molecular biotechnology company located in Wheat Ridge, CO. The Company provides genetic diagnostic solutions for the veterinary and agricultural industries with future plans to include the health-care industry. The Company's proprietary diagnostic solution is based on a genetic expression assay, GEA™. The GEA is designed for a host of individual diseases, the current priority being Mad Cow Disease, Chronic Wasting Disease, a disease affecting elk and deer in North America; E.Coli 0157:H7 and Johnne's Disease, diseases affecting cattle worldwide.

"Safe Harbor" Statement: Certain statements in this release are "forward-looking" statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties. Actual results may vary significantly from the results expressed or implied in such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the Company's ability to meet the terms and conditions required to obtain its project financing, risks and delays associated with product development, risk of market acceptance of new products, risk of technology or product obsolescence, competitive risks, reliance on development partners and the need for additional capital.