Judging Criteria

Develop a Live Animal Test for early detection of Chronic Wasting Disease

Phase 1: Judging Criteria
Design Paper

Design Paper submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

0 %
  • The proposed Solution presents a novel idea, or a novel combination of ideas, or a distinct advancement of the current state of detection technology for CWD.
  • The proposed Solution represents the creation and development of a new live animal test that will fundamentally improve our ability to detect deer with CWD.
  • The proposed Solution can be implemented in any veterinary diagnostic laboratory.
0 %
  • The proposed Solution includes an estimate of cost per animal for the required reagents and supplies.
  • If the Solution is scalable, the minimum and maximum number of samples per run of the assay is provided and the cost per animal of required reagents and supplies is estimated over that range.
0 %
  • The proposed Solution is based on sound scientific and theoretical principles.
  • The proposed Solution demonstrates how the proposed diagnostic or laboratory test will function in its proposed setting.
  • The proposed Solution identifies potential obstacles to implementing the test and how those obstacles will be overcome.
  • The proposed Solution identifies the resources needed to implement the test on live cervids.

Phase 2: Judging Criteria

Experimentation and Early Development

Teams selected to compete in Phase 2 of the challenge will be required to complete the following milestones prior to evaluation:


Milestone 1: Obtain USDA-APHIS Permit Approval

The lab to which the samples will be provided has an USDA-APHIS transport permit that allows for the receiving and handling of prion-infected materials. USDA-ARS and USDA-APHIS will provide information as needed for obtaining a lab permit if a team does not already have a permit. The instructions on how to obtain a lab permit can be found here.


Milestone 2: Successfully Complete Proof-of-Concept with CWD Positive Samples (Proof-of-Concept) The prototype correctly discriminated between samples obtained from healthy deer and deer with late-stage CWD infection.


Phase 2 final evaluation will be based on the following criteria (100 points possible):


Preliminary Sensitivity and Specificity

  • Differentiation of samples from healthy deer and deer in the early stages of CWD infection.
  • 40 points maximum: up to 20 points for sensitivity and 20 points for specificity.


  • The participant provides a plan for how they intend to have their assay developed and made available to USDA-APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) and National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).
  • 35 points awarded for submission of adequate plan.


  • Identical results obtained with replicate samples.
  • 25 points maximum: calculated as 25 points times proportion correct results.

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