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A multi-purpose microarray device

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today.  Researcher Tom Slezak is one of a team of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that has developed a microarray technology for detecting bacteria and viruses. One of the ways they are using this technology is to help researchers at the San Francisco Blood Research Institute to take a hard look at what's really in some vaccines. 

Slezak:          We found that one of the vaccines had, in addition to the virus that was there to protect young children, it had nucleic acid from another agent that wasn't expected to be there. It turns out that it was present through two years of human clinical testing and four years of worldwide sales and nobody knew that there was actually more nucleic acid from this pig virus than there was from the virus that was there for the protective vaccine.  And this actually caused the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration to think a little bit differently about these new technologies.

Narrator:       The lab's device could also be used for detecting bioterrorism attacks and for doctors diagnosing diseases. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.