The Chelsea Technologies Group (CTG) announces the development of an ‘on-site rapid diagnostics screening system’ designed to detect and identify micro-organisms following a terrorist attack.
Over recent years CTG has developed a novel, low-cost, optical system for reading low-density protein microarrays, work that was done in partnership with Microtest Matrices Ltd. (MtM), a spin out from Imperial College, London. With additional government sponsorship under the Home Office’s CBRN programme, this advance has enabled the CTG, MtM and The Health Inspection Agency (HPA) to develop a fully automated portable microarray processing platform for on-site diagnosis, a step which had hitherto been inhibited by the sophistication and expense of the optical imaging techniques available for reading high density DNA arrays, which until now has been the main driver for the development of this format.
The portable platform is designed to be rapidly deployed to any location in the event of a suspected terrorist attack allowing investigators to take samples from the immediate area of the incident – the walls, floor, people etc and screen them quickly to determine whether potentially harmful substances had been used in the attack.
John Attridge, Life Sciences Director, Chelsea Technologies Group, said: “The platform is designed to be rapidly deployed in the event of unexplained clusters of acute illness or fatality, to screen for the presence of a comprehensive panel of micro-organisms that might be associated with a deliberate terrorist attack, allowing these to be ruled out as a potential threat early in any investigation. The microarray format that the team has developed can readily be adapted for other applications, including the detection of potentially harmful chemicals in water supplies or for multianalyte detection in the medical diagnostics market.”
The platform will be on display at Medica 2008 (Stand 1F14, Dusseldorf) and CTG are keen to meet with organization who may be interested in collaborating on commercialization of the platform.