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Diseases » Bioterrorism » Research
 

Cure Research for Bioterrorism

Medical Research Breakthroughs and Bioterrorism

New Ultra sensitive Assays detect Poisonous substances: Scientists at California Department of Public Health have developed a new ultra sensitive assay to detect botulinum neurotoxin. The toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known that can cause life-threatening disease, and is considered a major potential bioterrorism threat agent. Botulinum neurotoxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When ingested, the toxin disables nerve function and can result in paralysis and even death. Botulism normally results when a person eats food tainted with C. botulinum bacteria or if a wound is infected by the bacterium. Infants, whose digestive systems are not yet fully developed, also are susceptible to the disease if the bacterium gains a foothold in their intestinal tract. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention identify botulinum neurotoxin as one of six "maximum threat" bioterrorism agents due to its potency, lethality and ease of production and transport. One gram of botulinum toxin could kill more than 1 million people, says earlier studies. The new test is atleast 10,000 times more sensitive and produces results much fster than the current detection method for botulinum neurotoxin. The use of the new assay would improve food safety and food processing technology, speed up and improve the diagnosis and treatment of human disease, advance the development of novel therapeutics and greatly enhance the country's ability to detect and defend against a bioterrorism attack.

 

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