• University lab focuses on deadly natural biological agents

    In the decade since the Center for Biological Defense at the University of South Florida opened, the research facility has shifted its focus from man-made biological agents to detecting natural biological threats

  • Detecting bioterror attacks

    About 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in the thirty largest cities in the United States; the government has deployed a secret system of biosensors to detect bioterror attacks; the location of the sensors, and the pathogens they search for, are kept secret so terrorists would not be able to tamper with the sensors or evade them (officially, even the list of cities where the system is deployed is kept secret)

  • Portable detector can ID anthrax in one hour

    Researchers have developed a portable device can detect the presence of the anthrax bacterium in about one hour from a sample containing as few as forty microscopic spores; the basic design, which is small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane, potentially could be tailored to detect countless other pathogens, such as salmonella, or be used in the field for DNA forensics

  • Bio detection firm raises $14 million in stock deal

    Last week PositiveID Corp.,a developer of biological threat detection technology and medical diagnostics, announced that it had signed a deal to raise almost $14 million in additional funding through the sale of its stock

  • PositiveID releases groundbreaking new biothreat detector

    PositiveID Corporation recently unveiled its new Multiplex BioThreat Assay, which the company says is the first of its kind; according to PostiveID, its latest device is the first commercially available detector that can diagnose up to six bio-threat organisms in the Centers for Disease Control’s category A and B lists in a far shorter time than existing methods

  • Nano detector spots deadly anthrax

    The average time of detection of an anthrax attack by current methods — the time required for DNA purification, combined with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis — is sixty minutes; a new, automatic, and portable detector takes just fifteen minutes to analyze a sample suspected of contamination with anthrax

  • Universal Detection to supply Singapore with biological detectors

    Universal Detection Technology announced that earlier this week it had won a tender to supply Singapore’s Civil Defense Force with biological weapon detection equipment; under the deal Universal Detection, a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies, will provide equipment capable of detecting biological agents like Anthrax, Ricin, Botulinum, Plague, and Tularemia

  • Bacteria designed for sleuthing

    Seven Cambridge University undergraduates spent the summer of 2009 genetically engineering bacteria to secrete a variety of colored pigments, visible to the naked eye; they designed standardized sequences of DNA, known as BioBricks, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria — so the bacteria can now change its color to red, yellow, green, blue, brown, or violet; the bacteria can be programmed to do useful things, such as indicate whether drinking water is safe by turning red if they sense a toxin; other uses for the design bacterium include monitoring food additives, patenting issues, personalized medicine, terrorism, and new types of weather

  • Floyd County gets additional $75,000 for CBRNE unit

    Floyd County in Georgia has received two DHS grants worth $75,000 to replace and repair equipment for its chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) response unit; the bulk of the money, approximately $65,000, will go towards replacing aging equipment, while the rest will go towards repairs; the CBRNE team was originally created four years ago with nearly $350,000 in DHS funding as part of the state’s terrorism prevention initiative

  • New technology quickly detects bioattacks on water supply systems

    If pathogens enter into a city water supply network, many people may fall ill quickly; to protect against this biological threat, researchers have developed a detection system, partly based on nanotechnology, that can warn authorities in time

  • Magnetic "nanobeads" detect chemical and biological agents

    Researchers at Oregon State University have found a way to use magnetic “nanobeads” to help detect chemical and biological agents, with possible applications in everything from bioterrorism to medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, or even water and food safety; rapid detection of chemical toxins used in bioterrorism would be possible, including such concerns as anthrax, ricin or smallpox, where immediate, accurate and highly sensitive tests would be needed

  • Universal detector made of DNA building blocks

    Aptamers are composed of the building blocks of the genetic material DNA; scientists show that aptamers can be used quantitatively to detect and accurately examine multifaceted substances; a method for detecting such diverse substances as antibiotics, narcotics, and explosives - in effect, a universal detector — has been developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz

  • Biosensor improves pathogen detection in food, water

    A nanotechnology-based biosensor being developed by Kansas State University researchers may allow early detection of both cancer cells and pathogens, leading to increased food safety and reduced health risks

  • San Francisco to regulate private biological agent detectors

    Some firms have begun selling building owners and companies untested devices designed to detect anthrax and other biological agents, but city officials are worried that these will generate false alarms; in San Francisco city officials estimate that responding to a false alarm generated by a biological agent detector could cost as much as $700,000; legislation has been introduced to regulate these devices; the bill would require those who have biological agent detectors to pay an annual fee and owners would also be fined as much as $10,000 for false alarms; if passed, owners would have ninety days to register with the city

  • Detecting invisible threats to first responders, soldiers

    There are many methods currently being used that can detect chemical and biological agents and explosive compounds, but none allows for the unique fingerprinting of threat agents at trace levels; researchers have overcome this limitation with surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) using optically stimulated plasmon oscillations in nanostructured substrates; SERS offers several potential advantages over other spectroscopic techniques because of its measurement speed, high sensitivity, portability, and simple maneuverability