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New instrument will quickly detect botulinum, ricin, other biothreat agents

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Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a medical instrument that will be able to quickly detect a suite of biothreat agents, including anthrax, ricin, botulinum, shiga and SEB toxin.

The device, once developed, approved by the Food and Drug Administration and commercialized, would most likely be used in emergency rooms in the event of a bioterrorism incident.

“When you look for bacterial agents, you don’t want to rely solely on proteins because you won’t get the detection sensitivity you need,” explained Singh. “So we are also using other methods that may lead to better detection limits and additional confirmation.”

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