Researchers at Cornell University have developed a suitcase-sized device to detect anthrax, which normally requires a full-sized lab and take days to detect.
Anthrax is an infectious disease due to a type of bacteria called Bacillus anthracis and it affects both humans and other animals. Infection in humans most often involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or lungs.
The so-called microfluidic device has fluid-pumping, power and computation equipment nicely packed into a 1 centimetre by 3-centimetre space, reports Discovery News.
It integrates sample purification and real-time DNA analysis chambers as well.
The detector only needs a small biological sample. Insert the sample and the machine automatically picks up cells and separates the DNA, which is then analysed in real-time.
With this system, tests can be done in the field more quickly and easily, and the inventors claim it can detect anthrax even if only a few dozen spores are present.
The discovery was published in the International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.