Smiths Detection, the world's leading provider of trace detection equipment, has announced the launch of the first handheld biological detection unit capable of identifying anthrax. Called Bio-Seeq, it is able to test for anthrax on-site, providing accurate results in 30 minutes or less.
The introduction of a lightweight biological detection unit has the potential to revolutionise the way suspicious biohazards such as anthrax are dealt with. An anthrax scare can result in an exclusion zone or cause costly building evacuations that last for days. Bio-Seeq can produce accurate results in a matter of minutes, allowing users to make a quick determination of risks. This is the next generation of bio-terrorism fighting tools.
The speed of detection provided by Bio-Seeq, assisted by the simple preparation of samples, offers a critical advantage. Current technology requires substances to be sent to a specialist laboratory for analysis by chemists, which could take between 12 and 48 hours. As a result, the discovery of potential life threatening biohazards would shut down entire buildings, causing widespread fear and concern. Bio-Seeq now puts the power of a chemist's lab in the hands of facility security professionals, military forces, and first responders such as fire fighters, hazmat teams and police.
Weighing only 6,5 pounds and about the size of a book, the rugged handheld unit is easily carried and can be powered by batteries, vehicle adapter or AC plug-in. The unit can test up to six different samples simultaneously, testing each one independently of the others. Ease of use is a priority for the Bio-Seeq, which has been designed with a membrane keyboard with extra large keys suitable for operators wearing heavy gloves.
At the heart of the Bio-Seeq unit are six detection modules that perform thermal cycling, optical reading, and alarm detection for each test. They use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to identify the DNA modules of the anthrax spores. In a further anti-terror product development planned for January 2004, Smiths Detection will be introducing a mail screening station, deploying similar detection technology to Bio-Seeq, for use in mailrooms of large public and private enterprises.
Smiths Detection is represented in South Africa by MIT and ECM Technologies.
For more information contact ECM Technologies, 012 329 4116 or MIT, 012 348 0569.
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