Oakland (CA) – Smiths Detection has unveiled a handheld biological testing unit designed for military and emergency response applications.
Bio-Seeq Plus provides on-site identification of biological warfare agents (BWAs) such as Anthrax (pX01 & pX02), Tularemia, Plague and Pan Orthopox.
“With suspicious powder incidents increasing over the past decade, we are committed to introducing new products that meet the varied needs of emergency responders around the globe,” said a Smiths Detection spokesperson. “Bio-Seeq Plus has the ability to provide lab-quality results in the field, which will enable appropriate responses to potential biological agent attacks.”
According to Global Security, the majority of biological weapons consist of living organisms and are capable of replicating once disseminated.
“In a civil situation, major subway systems in a densely populated urban area could be targeted for biological agent strike, resulting in massive political and social disorganization. Approximately 10 grams of anthrax spores can kill as many persons as a ton of sarin,” stated the organization’s website.
David W. Siegrist of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, expressed similar sentiments.
“If a rogue regime were to mount such an unconventional asymmetric attack, they might choose biological weapons because their extreme destructive potential is concentrated in a relatively small and unremarkable package with virtually no detectable sensor signature. Because of the agent’s incubation period, the perpetrators might be gone before anyone knew that an attack had been made,” explained Siegrist. “Biological agents, unlike ballistic missiles, lend themselves to clandestine dissemination. Warfare itself may be becoming more total and losing much of its political character in some situations. Biological weapons, which kill people but leave infrastructure intact, could become the ‘poor man’s neutron bomb.'”
The Obama administration, which acknowledged that biological weapons pose an “increasing national security risk,” has pledged to:
- Manage potential disease outbreaks by linking health care providers, hospitals and public health agencies.
- Accelerate the development of new medicines, vaccines and production capabilities.
- Lead an international effort to diminish the impact of major infectious disease epidemics.