Scientists at Sandia National Labs are heading an effort to develop a rapid point-of-care device that can detect a person’s exposure to possible biological weapons like ricin, anthrax, botulinum, shiga and SEB toxins. From Sandia:
The University of Texas Medical Branch, with whom Sandia enjoys a years-long partnership, together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., are providing Sandia with expert insight into toxins and diseases at animal lab facilities. Bio-Rad, a manufacturer and distributor of a variety of devices and laboratory technologies, is serving as a consultant on the project to evaluate plans for product development, assist with manufacturers’ criteria on the device that is developed, and provide important feedback when a prototype is built.
“We are getting closer and closer to translational elements of research, which involves testing in animal and clinical facilities. This is part of the maturation of our bioresearch activities at Sandia,” said Anup Singh, senior manager for Sandia’s biological science and technology group.
The project also will increase what SpinDx can do, he added.
“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.”
“Plus, we want dual-use devices that combat both man-made and nature-made problems,” he added. “We’re not just going to wait for the next anthrax letter incident to happen for our devices to be used and tested; we want them to be useful for other things as well, like infectious diseases.”