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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

The Newest Defense Against Biological Warfare? This Cube

• Kelsey D. Atherton via

This cube could detect a biological threat in a sample of blood in less time than it takes to commute home.

Funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health, SpinDx (yes, that's the name the researchers went with) is a liquid-testing lab in a cube. Using cheap disks to collect samples, usually blood but also other bodily fluids or even just water, the SpinDx disks "contain commercially available reagents and antibodies specific to each protein marker" embedded into 64 tiny pores. Using just a pinprick of blood (or tiny sample of whatever fluid is being tested), capillary action seeds the pores on the disk with the sample. The SpinDx cube then spins the disk in a centrifuge, and lets the reagents and antibodies in the pores test for up to 64 toxins, and delivers test results in just 15 minutes.

The faster a threat can be diagnosed, the better hospitals and the CDC will be able to treat patients. And with an effective early response, we are that much safer from zombies. Okay, zombie defense isn't the first goal, but in light of recent stories about lost viruses and new bioweapon risks, the prospect of a quick diagnosis machine is good news.

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