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Monoclonal Antibody based system for Anthrax detection

According to Swiss Radio International report, a Swiss research team has developed a simple and highly sensitive testing system for anthrax detection, which is better than// the already existing ones.The report says that the new system can be used to detect anthrax spores that are used in biological warfare.

In October2001, the United States was hit by an anthrax attack that killed 5 people.They died from contaminated letters sent to political and media organizations. This incident invigorated the need of quick and reliable anthrax detection tests.

An immunological test that gives accurate results in minutes has been successfully developed by a team of Swiss researchers. The existing genetic methods are more time consuming and expensive.

"An immunological test takes five to ten minutes to work and it's very important that you get a quick response," said Peter Seeberger, an organic chemistry professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who took part in the research.

"If you are treated within the first 24-48 hours, your chances of survival are good, if not, your chances of dying are 95 percent or greater," he said.

“Until now it has been difficult to create a reliable immunological test -- which detects a substance through its antibody-creating reaction with the immune system -- because the spore cell surface of anthrax is too similar to those of other bacteria.”

"Right now there are antibody-based systems being used in post offices in the U.S.," said Seeberger. "The problem is that anthrax cell surface proteins and those of other closely related bacteria are identical so what you get from the tests are false positives -- so it may be that a harmless bacterium is present but it gives you a positive readout."

A unique carbohydrate comprising four sugar components was discovered on the surface of anthrax spores. Anthrose is the sugar component present in this carbohydrate, which doesn’
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