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A. A Rapid, Bio-terrorism Detection System is in the Works

Narrator: This is Science Today. Plague detection and the detection of other disease-causing pathogens, is a matter of public health, as well as a possible bio-terrorism or bio-warfare concern. Bert Weinstein, associate director of biology and biotechnology research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that's why they're working on a system of rapid detection.

Weinstein: We're working on diagnostics that would allow very rapid detection of not only plague, but a lot of potential pathogens. We work on this from two directions - the thing that got us started in it is the counter bio-terrorism, counter bio-warfare interests of being able to rapidly detect if there has been a bio-terrorist event.

Narrator: Weinstein says it's the same technology that you'd need for rapid detection of any disease, so they're working with the Centers for Disease Control.

Weinstein: The ones that we're working on first are the counter bio-terrorism concerns because that was how we initially got started in this, but we're also expanding it to food-borne diseases and other potential health concerns.

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