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Defence Lab Announces Its Latest Rapid Diagnosis Spin-Out Technology

Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), first used PCR to develop fast accurate battlefield detection systems for biological warfare agents. But its wider potential was soon realised and now Dstl is launching a joint venture with industry. The spin-out company, called Enigma Diagnostics will launch two rapid, fully automated diagnostic machines, which have adapted the PCR process and created unique features that can:

Provide in-the-field testing for animal diseases including foot and mouth or tuberculosis (TB) in cattle within 30 minutes rather than taking samples back to a laboratory.

Detect Genetic Modifications (GM) in food at the food processing plant or at the point of sale and spot contamination such as Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli.

Diagnose infections such as sexually transmitted Chlamydia within 40 minutes from urine samples.

Analyse DNA samples at the scene of crime to assist Police Forces and the Forensic Science Service.

Provide while-you-wait testing at GP surgeries and clinics to give correct and effective prescription of medicines.

Normally a laboratory based technique using a heating block to heat and cool samples in test tubes. Dstl has negated the need for the heating block by creating a innovative heating system using custom built test tubes made from a novel Electrically Conducting Polymer or plastic which heats and cools the test tubes individually. This not only speeds up the process, but also creates a lighter more portable instrument, able to carry out several assays simultaneously.

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Source : Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. UK (Dstl) View archived contact details

Posted on September 20, 2004