• 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

  • Army to request proposals for biological agent detection system

    The Army is set to begin requesting proposals for the initial phase of its Joint Biological Standoff Detection System Increment 2 (JBSDS 2) program at the end of March; the program’s objective is to procure fully functional biological detection systems; JBSDS 2 is designed to provide devices capable of detecting, tracking, and identifying biological warfare clouds; the program specifies that the devices should be capable of identifying any biological agent, organism, or poison that is capable of killing, incapacitating, or impeding a large force

  • Archie is U.K.'s first mouse detection dog

    Cats have traditionally been used for mouse control; a Welsh company argues that dogs can be better mouse detectors than cats, and to prove it has trained a three-year-old springer spaniel named Archie to become the U.K.’s first muse detection dog; his test scores were so impressive that property management company Mitie will be using Archie in the company’s pest control section

  • New pathogen detection test dramatically reduces wait times

    An Illinois based pharmaceutical company, recently introduced Plex-ID, a new detection system that can accurately identify seventeen different dangerous biological pathogens; the system fills a critical gap in detection capabilities as it can analyze direct samples like blood, food, water, or air filters and provide results in less than eight hours; current blood and tissue tests take three or more days; in the event of a biological attack, detecting pathogens in infected persons is critical as these people will continue to spread the disease unless quarantined; the Plex-ID system has already helped identify an unknown disease in Afghanistan; after eighty-three people became sick with a mysterious disease and seventeen people died, the Plex-ID system accurately identified the disease as bubonic plague when other tests failed

  • U.S. urged to update chem-bio defense efforts

    A new report highlights one of the major problems in preparing defenses against chemical and biological (CB) agents: “Given the inherent secrecy with which states and other actors will conduct CB agent development, adversary programs could acquire new CB agents years before U.S. defense planners recognize those agents—- And, after the U.S. intelligence community recognizes those CB agents as threats, the United States will probably need many more years to establish a comprehensive defense against them. Such gaps in CB agent defense capabilities pose a potentially serious risk to U.S. military operations”

  • ICx Technologies: comprehensive, layered approach to security

    At the recent ASIS exhibition and seminar, Homeland Security Newswire took the time to walk through the ICx Technologies booth and speak to some of their subject matter experts; CommandSpace® & ThreatSense™, solutions which provide a comprehensive, layered approach to perimeter security and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security for critical facilities, respectively, were on display

  • New detector tests for illegal drugs, superbugs in minutes

    A new method of detecting illegal drugs and super bugs will be used in a U.K. government-backed handheld device that analyzes saliva; the testing takes minutes and costs as little as £1.50 per test; it works by measuring the electric charge generated when the substances in the saliva react with an electrode coated with antibodies