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A.. Researchers Develop a Quick Plague Detection System

Narrator: This is Science Today. When most people hear the word 'plague', they invariably think of the infamous Black Death that swept through Europe in the Middle Ages, killing up to forty percent of the population. But plague is still around today. However, unlike the Middle Ages, Bert Weinstein of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory says it's very treatable with antibiotics if detected early enough. One of the drawbacks has been that it would take about a week to test for the disease. But now Weinstein and a team of researchers at the Lab have developed a system that detects plague in a matter of hours.

Weinstein: So that's the value of what of what we're trying to do - develop diagnostics that let us recognize these diseases early while they can be treated, while you can intervene, both to treat the people that have been exposed and to prevent other people from getting exposed.

Narrator: A quick detection system would be also be useful in the case of bioterrorism.

Weinstein: Many of the bioterrorism agents are very treatable if you recognize early what's happening and also if you recognize early what's happening you can prevent the spread.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.