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C. Researchers Work to Improve Bioterrorism Detection Systems

Narrator: This is Science Today. As the recent spate of anthrax attacks have proven, early detection is vital to subsequent treatment. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are working to further develop and improve the very rapid diagnostic technology known as the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test. Bert Weinstein a biotechnology specialist at the Lab, explains.

Weinstein: They've developed several generations with ever-increasing speed and ever-shrinking size to the point that there's now out for evaluation a hand-held PCR device that will allow you to do four simultaneous samples and that's out in the hands of users in a number of different organizations - to get some feedback on its utility and ways to improve it.

Narrator: Weinstein says the ultimate goal is ongoing monitoring for counter bioterrorism applications.

Weinstein: You can think of that sort of ongoing monitoring going on in hospitals and clinics, to see if there are any bacteria floating around in the atmosphere that might cause a disease outbreak.

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