Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Faster anthrax detection could speed bioterror response

Date:
February 27, 2014
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Shortly following the 9/11 terror attack in 2001, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed around the country killing five people and infecting 17 others. At the time, no testing system was in place to screen the letters. Currently, first responders have tests that can provide results in about 24-48 hours. Now, researchers have tested a new method for anthrax detection that can identify anthrax in only a few hours.

Shortly following the 9/11 terror attack in 2001, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to news outlets and government buildings killing five people and infecting 17 others. According to a 2012 report, the bioterrorism event cost $3.2 million in cleanup and decontamination. At the time, no testing system was in place that officials could use to screen the letters. Currently, first responders have tests that can provide a screen for dangerous materials in about 24-48 hours. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have worked with a private company to develop a new method for anthrax detection that can identify anthrax in only a few hours.

"Normally to identify whether an organism is present, you have to extract the material, culture it, and then pick colonies to examine that might turn out to be anthrax bacteria," said George Stewart, PhD, a medical bacteriologist at MU's Bond Life Sciences Center and chairman of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and McKee Endowed Professor within the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. "Then you conduct chemical testing which takes some time -- a minimum of 24 to 48 hours. Using this newly-identified method, we can reduce that time to about five hours."

Using a virus known as a "bioluminescent reporter phage," Stewart and graduate student, Krista Spreng, tested the phage at the MU Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research. The phage, developed by David Schofield at Guild BioSciences, a biotech company in Charleston, S.C., is injected in the sample causing anthrax to glow if present. The team also found that the method can detect low levels of anthrax bacteria and rule out false positives. The added benefit to this reporting system is its ability to show if anthrax is present and whether or not the spores are alive, Stewart said.

The next step for the research team at MU and Guild BioSciences will be to get the bioluminescent reporter phage approved by federal regulatory agencies so a product can be produced and distributed, Stewart said.

"In the years since the post 9/11 postal attacks, we haven't had any bona fide anthrax attacks," Stewart said. "That doesn't mean that it's not going to happen, we just have to be prepared for when it does occur again."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David A. Schofield, Natasha J. Sharp, Joshua Vandamm, Ian J. Molineux, Krista A. Spreng, Chythanya Rajanna, Caroline Westwater, George C. Stewart. Bacillus anthracis diagnostic detection and rapid antibiotic susceptibility determination using ‘bioluminescent’ reporter phage. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 2013; 95 (2): 156 DOI: 10.1016/j.mimet.2013.08.013

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Faster anthrax detection could speed bioterror response." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227125518.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2014, February 27). Faster anthrax detection could speed bioterror response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227125518.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Faster anthrax detection could speed bioterror response." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140227125518.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins