Washington, June 26 (ANI): Scientists have developed a handheld device that can detect anthrax with outstanding accuracy and reliability.
The device, called Ceeker (pronounced "seeker"), was made by scientists at Veritide Ltd., a developer of innovative biological identification and detection solutions.
It can discriminate between anthrax spores and similar-looking hoax substances.
The data show that in over two weeks of testing at the Midwest Research Institute in Florida, the company's Ceeker scanner accurately identified 100 percent of the anthrax samples used and was correct in 95 percent of tests involving hoax substances.
"We knew that our innovative Ceeker is capable of producing outstanding results in distinguishing between anthrax and look-alike hoax substances, and now we have definitive data confirming its performancem," said Andrew Rudge, Chief Executive Officer of Veritide.
"Even better, these extraordinary results were generated by a small portable handheld system that requires no special skills or training to operate and that can produce a result within minutes, enabling first responders to rapidly determine whether the situation is a nuisance or a major threat to public health," he added.
The Ceeker employs optical detection technology developed at New Zealand's University of Canterbury.
It uses ultraviolet light and special algorithms to detect bacterial spores and provides test results within minutes, without the need for wet chemistry or analytic processes that can be difficult to handle in the field.
The Ceeker is capable of producing test results from very small amounts of sample and does not consume or destroy the sample being tested, allowing it to be re-analyzed later for forensic applications.
In contrast, existing detection approaches require longer and more complex processing to distinguish anthrax from other substances (between 30 minutes and three days). Their accuracy is inferior to the Ceeker and the sample is typically destroyed during testing.
According to Professor Lou Reinisch, an inventor of the Ceeker technology, "These new data definitively confirm the validity of the detection concepts underlying the Ceeker and should help fuel its wider use among such first responders as fire and police departments, HazMat teams, postal services, port and airport security, and defense and military authorities."
The Ceeker has also been previously validated by forensic laboratory ESR, which conducted multiple rounds of testing using anthrax simulants and hoax substances.
The successful US test results have triggered significant sales from US customers who had pre-ordered the Ceeker but were waiting for positive direct anthrax testing results before proceeding. (ANI)