Ionisation-based detector of airborne bio-agents, viruses and toxins for fast-alert and identification

This is an FP7 project of 36 month duration starting on:2010-06-01. 

Objective: The malevolent use of Anthrax spores on civilians in late 2001 has shown the necessity to protect European citizens from criminal use of biological agents and viruses. Although these attacks had been punctual and crude, more sophisticated attacks on dozens or hundreds of injured or killed people are conceivable. 

When launching such an attack its success depends on concentrating a sufficient amount of pathogens in a defined area. Hence safeguarding a certain area regarding biological agents demands the detection of pathogenous bacteria, spores and viruses in various matrices (e.g. Anthrax in flour or sugar) or suspicious aerosols. This can only be accomplished by triggering a short-term alarm and its validation as well as the identification of the type of threat. 

Since most of the bio sensors available are laboratory bound or require special equipment which needs training as well as experience, new systems are needed. The concept of BIO-PROTECT is the development of a fast-alert, easy-to-use device to be applied for detection and identification of airborne bacteria, spores, viruses and toxins. Its technology is based on bioaerosol detection by fluorescence, scattering and background aerosol measurement followed by ionization of air flow and analysis of the spectrum of relative speed of passage, which, in turns, enables identification of harmful biological agents. This device may also be used for controlling potential accidental release of bio-agents from biotechnology laboratories. 

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