An anthrax detector by a New Zealand company Veritide Ltd., that we recently mentioned, has finally been announced. The company is hush-hush about the details of its technology, but what is clear is that the device is an optical instrument.
From the product’s announcement:
Based upon technology developed in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Canterbury, the first product is a hand-held detector that can identify bacterial spores in a matter of minutes. The process is optically based using a proprietary optical recognition protocol.
Veritide has the financial backing of Endeavour iCap and Ngai Tahu Equities. The Chairman of the Board is Neville Jordan, the Chair of Endeavour Capital.
How important is a bacterial spore detector? There are hundreds of white powder incidents each week in the world. A white powder incident is when an unknown substance spills from an envelop or is discovered in a building. There is no simple, rapid test that first responders can currently use to rule out the possibility that the powder contains anthrax spores. In most instances, the powder is sent to a laboratory where the identification process can take three days. “Three days is too long for someone potentially exposed to anthrax spores to wait. If someone is exposed to anthrax, treatment should begin immediately. It is the goal of Veritide to provide this crucial information to protect everyone.” according to Neville Jordan.
“Our bacterial spore detector is as simple to use a torch.” explains the inventor, Lou Reinisch. “Our target is a device that can be used while wearing a hazardous material suit and does not destroy the sample to permit further testing. Our approach to spore detection is unique.”