Luminex Corp. will develop a diagnostic device for rapid field detection of biological threats under an $11.6-million award from the U.S. Department of Defense
. Announced August 9, the 3½ -year contract will fund the development of a handheld tool to detect protein and nucleic acid targets for diagnosing Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS). SIRS results from blood infection in conventional warfare, biological warfare, and combat operations in both developing areas and areas where resources are limited, Luminex says.
Biowarfare agents threaten both military and civilian personnel with severe illness and death, Luminex says. Because there are common features related to infection of the bloodstream, it is possible to develop a sensitive diagnostic test that identifies biological warfare pathogens and can also be used outside of a bioagent attack, according to the company.
"The flexibility and scalability of our multiplexing technology allow for the measurement of RNA, DNA, and proteins with the same system, aiding rapid and accurate diagnosis of these severe conditions,” says Amy Altman, vice president of Luminex Biodefense. “Development of a field-deployable device using our technology has the potential to provide significant advancement in biothreat detection."
The contract was awarded under the Chemical and Biological Defense Initiative fund by the DOD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Based in Austin, TX, Luminex says DTRA received 56 proposals.