DARPA Funding New Portable Biological Weapons Diagnostics Device

DARPA Funding New Portable Biological Weapons Diagnostics Device

Lab Working to detect Biological Weapons

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Today’s battlefield can be a very unpredictable place, with threats coming from every direction, including from the air and from underground. Recent conflicts in war zones such as Syria has once again made the possibility of using chemical and biological weapons available, and DARPA wants to be ready for that possibility.

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today on its website. Ga.com,  that it has been awarded a 12 month contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a next generation Portable Diagnostic Platform for personnel to quickly self-perform testing for an array of infectious diseases in the field. Over the 12 month contract period, the company will develop a verification prototype device and related assay cards for point-of-use molecular diagnostics testing.

“Biological threats are a growing concern for field personnel and troops, driving the need for small, rugged, and easy to use diagnostic devices that can rapidly indicate positive or negative results to infectious disease exposure,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “Currently it takes a trip to a lab and days to receive diagnostic results. This new device, and easy to use disposable cartridges, will provide lab-quality molecular diagnostics in the field within an hour. This means field personnel can quickly and locally detect whether they have come into contact with diseases such as Ebola, malaria, dengue fever, or influenza. Reliable diagnosis in a shorter time frame translates into a faster response and more effective treatment.”

The company will develop a next generation Portable Diagnostic Platform with unique sensor technology and customizable, single-use disposable cartridges capable of lab-quality molecular diagnostics. A small fluid sample is inserted into a cartridge containing a molecular sensor chip and various reagents that will react when they come into contact with certain pathogens. Testing occurs when the cartridge is inserted into the Portable Diagnostic Platform device, which interacts with the cartridge to prepare and analyze the sample. An easy to read positive or negative test result is then displayed in less than one hour.