University of Missouri scientists have discovered a new diagnostic procedure that drastically reduces the time it takes to identify the presence of anthrax.
Tests currently used by emergency responders to check for anthrax in a culture — extracted from the environment or a bioweapon-delivery device — can take as long as two days to return results.
The new developmental method takes roughly five hours, which could allow authorities to respond to a confirmed biological-weapons incident much more quickly, according to a Wednesday news release from the university.
“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,” George Stewart, a medical bacteriologist at the school’s Bond Life Sciences Center, said in provided comments. “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.”
The biotechnology firm Guild BioSciences created a pathogen called “bioluminescent reporter phage,” which Stewart and his team injected into samples. When anthrax was present, the sample glowed. The researchers learned the phage was capable of detecting small amounts of anthrax spores and did not emit false alarms.
The U.S. Agriculture Department-funded method also can identify whether anthrax spores are active, according to Stewart.
The public-private research team next plans to seek regulatory approval from the federal government so the diagnostic technology can be developed into a distributable product.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."