New tool can detect deadly anthrax attack in 15 minutes

July 7th, 2011 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 7 (IANS) A nano detector that takes just 15 minutes to analyze a sample suspected of anthrax contamination, is being developed by researchers.

Bacillus anthracis, commonly known as anthrax, is a potentially lethal microbe that can be used by terrorists to infect victims through contamination of food and water supplies, aerosolized particles, or even dried powders.

Nathaniel Cady of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), University at Albany, and colleagues at Cornell University, New York, have constructed nanofabricated fluidic cartridges that can be used to carry out detection of anthrax.

The technology amplifies any anthrax DNA present in the sample and can reveal the presence of 40 microscopic cells of the deadly bacteria.

Detection is crucial to preventing widespread fatalities in the event of an anthrax attack, according to a CNSE statement.

However, the complexity of the microbe’s biology has so far made it difficult to build a portable system that can be employed quickly, reports the International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

-Indo-Asian News service

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