Narrator: This is Science Today. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have made great strides in countering biological and chemical terrorism. Pat Fitch, leader of the Lab's Chemical and Biological National Security Program, says they've already helped develop monitoring tools such as BASIS, used during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and are now developing ways to improve such monitoring systems.
Fitch: We've been developing a system that takes people as much out of the loop as you can. And the current system we have that's in pilot studies is called the Autonomous Pathogen Detector System, or APDS. APDS is about the size of a podium or an ATM machine and it does everything that BASIS does, but it does it automatically.
Narrator: With APDS, air is blown into a cyclone of water and when dirty, it flushes down into a detector system that automatically processes it and does a series of tests.
Fitch: The APDS runs about a week and then someone shows up and changes reagents. We think we've gotten a lot of the people cost out of the system.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.