LoacSys Bioagent Identification System
The threat of bioterrorism was catapulted into the national consciousness after the anthrax scare of 2001. To combat the threat of a pathogen release, the federal government created the BioWatch program to monitor the air in major metropolitan areas. The program has been criticized due to its slow speed (hours to detect a threat) and its low sensitivity (pathogen release must be large and close to the sensor location). The ideal microbe detector would be highly sensitive, high throughput, rapid, not prone to false negatives, able to determine microbe vitality, and preserve the sample for subsequent analysis. Unfortunately, no existing detection system has these attributes. The dominant technologies can be grouped into two categories: antibody-based or nucleic-acid based. Antibody-based platforms can be high throughput, provide results in real time, and preserve sample for subsequent analysis. Nucleic acid-based platforms are more sensitive, and less prone to false negatives. Both antibody-based and nucleic-acid based technologies cannot determine microbe vitality and both are insufficiently sensitive for reliable atmospheric monitoring.
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