Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is It Anthrax or Just White Powder?

A good article about A microfluidic chip that rapidly identifies pathogens by scanning their genomes.

From the article :

When a patient is admitted to the hospital with signs of a dangerous systemic bacterial infection, or when a post-office worker finds white powder in a suspicious-looking envelope, the ability to quickly identify potential pathogens is important. To accomplish that, a team of Massachusetts researchers is developing a microfluidic chip that performs fast DNA sequencing to rapidly identify bacteria. The goal is a device simple enough to use in airport and other security screening.

In order to identify the bacteria in a blood sample or in a building's ventilation system, researchers or clinicians usually must start by coaxing it to grow in culture in the lab. This takes about 14 to 48 hours. In the meantime, a patient with a drug-resistant infection may be given the wrong antibiotic, or emergency medical workers may miss the signs of a potential bioterror attack.

Click here to read the full story

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