NOV 17, 2014 12:00 AM PST

New Ebola Rapid Testing Technologies Will Detect Surface and Airborne Infectious Viruses Onsite, in Minutes

WRITTEN BY: Ilene Schneider
PathSensors Inc. (www.PathSensors.com), a Baltimore-based biotechnology and environmental testing company, is developing a suite of mobile bio-detection technologies that can quickly detect the Ebola virus as well as MERS and SARS accurately, onsite, in minutes, and with higher specificity than current commercially available technologies.

The mobile PathSensor systems are easy-to-use, require minimal training and can detect infectious pathogens (virus, bacteria or toxin) from safely obtained samples. Portable PathSensors systems can be deployed for pathogen detection at any port of entry (air, land and water) as well as healthcare facilities and entertainment venues. Onsite personnel can handle testing easily and receive a result in less than five minutes, thereby eliminating hours of critical transportation to, and processing time at a lab facility.

"Now that Ebola is a critical detection priority, we can deploy systems early next year, once we have a strategic partner in place to handle expanded production," explains PathSensors CEO Ted Olsen. "Containment starts with accurate and timely detection so the faster that you can achieve detection the quicker the population can be protected from these worldwide threats."

"Government agencies suddenly are hard-pressed for rapid detection in point-of-entry systems for inadvertent or intentional bio threats," says airport security expert Peter Harris, president of Yankee Foxtrot, Inc., a security management consulting firm, and a PathSensors director. "PathSensors systems can be used as standalone technologies or integrated with other bio-detection technologies. Together, they can be used to test a patient as well as the seat, surfaces touched, and places visited by the infected party to ensure complete remediation."

PathSensors CANARY® technology licensed from the MIT-Lincoln Laboratory delivers extremely rapid detection of more than 25 pathogens at previously unattainable levels of speed and sensitivity. CANARY® incorporates pathogen-specific antibodies expressed on a biosensor surface that, in the presence of a pathogen (virus, bacteria or toxin), trigger an intracellular calcium release that in-turn activates bioluminescent proteins to generate the emission of light.

PathSensors' financial partners include Blue Venture Investors, Empower Baltimore Management Corporation (EBMC), Chesapeake Emerging Opportunities Club, and the Virginia Active Angel Network (VAAN).

PathSensors Inc., a biotech company headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland has developed and commercialized MIT-LL technology to enable the highly reliable identification of airborne and liquid-based pathogens. PathSensors currently offers the Zephyr and BioFlash systems to provide rapid and highly reliable identification of airborne, liquid and surface-based pathogens. Government organizations and industry currently use these systems for monitoring, detection and identification of pathogens in biosecurity, mail screening, food processing, agriculture and environmental testing. PathSensors is privately held.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness that is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

WHO also says that the current outbreak in west Africa, of which the first cases were identified in March 2014, is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (one traveler only) to Nigeria, and by land (one traveler) to Senegal.
About the Author
  • Ilene Schneider is the owner of Schneider the Writer, a firm that provides communications for health care, high technology and service enterprises. Her specialties include public relations, media relations, advertising, journalistic writing, editing, grant writing and corporate creativity consulting services. Prior to starting her own business in 1985, Ilene was editor of the Cleveland edition of TV Guide, associate editor of School Product News (Penton Publishing) and senior public relations representative at Beckman Instruments, Inc. She was profiled in a book, How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Writing Business and listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Advertising and Who's Who in Media and Communications. She was the recipient of the Women in Communications, Inc. Clarion Award in advertising. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ilene and her family have lived in Irvine, California, since 1978.
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