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A device that can change public health landscape

 

Narrator:        This is Science Today. A new device that can detect and classify viruses and bacteria within 24 hours has been developed by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Tom Slezak, who leads the lab's bioinformatics group, says their Microbial Detection Array has the potential to really change how public health is performed in this country.

Slezak:           If you think about your health maintenance organization, your HMO, they are processing thousands of individuals a day. They're looking at samples from sick kids.  You're looking at runny noses and all kinds of other things.  There's quite a few different organisms that could be causing people to be sick. The microarrays allow us to multiplex looking for many different organisms. Suddenly, we can really identify what the causative agents are of disease, that will allow us to do much more effective treatments, rather than just saying I think it's bacterial, here's some antibiotics, if it's viral, oops. Not only we didn't help you but we've also contributed to growing antibiotic resistance.

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