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  1. #1
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    Default Bio-Detection Equipment

    My department is looking at purchasing a biological detection device for "white powder" calls. Does anyone know pros and cons of what's out there; Smith's Detection, Alexeter Technologies, Idaho Technology, MesoSystems, GenPrime, Response Biomedical?


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber downtownlt's Avatar
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    Default

    we have the alexeter, i would
    say the only con to it, is that
    you have to buy the different
    test strips for each agent.
    and can only test 1 at a time

  3. #3
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    Default biological test equip

    In Dallas FD we us two forms of ID. The first is called the Bio Check powder screen kit.This lets you know if protein is present or not. If not, it's probably not a biological, if it is then the second step is the Alexter. Have to make sure that you wait the full time when you use the Alexter or you might get false positives. We are now looking at buying the SensIR ID system. The SensIR is what most of the Civil Support Teams use. Again, all of the test are followed up with testing in a level 3 lab.


    Steve
    Lt. Dallas Hazmat

  4. #4
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    Cool Bio Detection for White Powders

    The Center for Domestic Prepareness (CDP) in Anniston Alabama has developed a 5-Step process for ruling out anthrax and other bio agents in white powder incidents. The process is 99% accurate in ruling out the possibility a bio agent is present. The kit can be assembled locally for less than 20 dollars. See the September Firehouse Magazine for details or write to me at robert.burke@att.net.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber downtownlt's Avatar
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    just recieved our sensIR hazmat ID.
    although it does not identify biologicals,
    it does identify proteins, and at least 5000
    other HAZMATS. Its a great toy for those
    who have said they are looking at getting 1

  6. #6
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    Default biowarfare detection aids

    In Ft. Lauderdale, we also utilize the SensIR. This system is the cat's meow, but as stated above, it doesn't test for biologicals. In addition to this device, we also have the BADD (Biowarfare Agent Detection Device) box. These are similar in opperation to a standard pregnancy test and provide results within 15-30 minutes. We have the devices that detect anthrax, botulinum, and ricin. You can get more info on this by going to
    http://www.osborn-scientific.com/products.htm
    Hope this helps!
    - Fortes Fortuna Juvat -

  7. #7
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    Talking You get what you pay for::::::::::::

    You get what you pay for:
    This was a statement that has come up on several websites. I would be very careful using this as a method for detection. First just like we have a system of different technologies for chemicals the same should be done for the biologicals. Second is the issue of detection. The Anniston Protocol leaves the responder with a false sense of security. Biologicals work and act on a different level. One must understand the priciples of macromolecules before we can employee detection strategies.
    The process should rule out chemical behavior, then onto the biological process :
    1. pH range for bacteria/virus 4 -8
    2. Postive protein test
    3. Hand Held Asseys
    a. Antigen/antibody
    b. Bio-illiuminance (antibody/antigen)
    4. InfraRed analysis
    5. Phase Contrast Microscope for morphology
    6. PCR technology

    Although the last three of this process are expensive but each level looks at the problem in a seperate fashion. Just like the chemicals we use several techologies to "see" what we don't have.The bilogicals are no diffent.

    The Anniston method at the time of this writting is under review for its safety and effectiveness. Several responders, and PhD's are looking carefully at this issue. They realize that this is a false assumption system and that the responder must have a higher degree of understanding and technology for such a system to work.


  8. #8
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    Smile You get more than you pay for..................

    In the case of CDP, I do not agree that you get what you pay for. First of all, this is one of the rare cases that you are getting value far beyond what you are paying. The leading biological experts in this country from Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Detrick Maryland and others participated in the development of this process. The development and testing has been going on for over a year. It has been tested against live anthrax and other biological materials and has shown a 99% accuracy rate. That is unparalleled in a bio detection field test.

    I am unsure where you get the idea that the 5-Step process leaves the responder with a false sense of security. The five step process tells the responder the likelyhood that a biological material is or is not present with 99% accuracy. There are 15 materials that have been used consistantly during bio agent hoaxes across the country. The CDP process rules them out as biological materials. There are also some materials that would give a positive for biological materials but are not dangerous. However, they are not among the common mateirals used in hoaxes. Lab tests would rule out dangerous bio materials. Much of the technology used by the CDP process has been in use by the major hazmat teams in this country for quite some time. What CDP has done is to form an organized process to determine if it is likely that biological agents are present or not. You still have to send samples to a lab for confirmation. Response personnel need to be trained to use the process just like any other form of detection.

    Most areas of the country currently have no capability of ruling out biological materials at a "White Powder Incident". Following the anthrax attack on the East Coast in 2001 departments across the country were inundated with white powder calls. The FBI could not respond to all of them because of the volume of reports. Labs were overwhelmed with samples for testing. The CDP process would have in fact given response personnel confidence that no biological materials were present in samples at these incidents. The CDP 5-Step process makes the ability to rule out biological materials available to any response orgainzation in this country regardless of size or budget. And they are getting far more than they are paying for.

    pH range for bioligical materials is in fact between 5 and 9.

  9. #9
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    Default

    What is the gain of spending thousands for the Bio-Seeq (PCR) and a phase microscope over the miniscule amount for the CDP kit. End result is that field testing isn't going to tell me that I have a bio agent, merely that I have a sample that needs to be sent to the lab to be cultured right? Just as field testing for a chemical only tells me what family of chemical the lab will test for when they run it through gc-ms.
    "Experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes." Oscar Wilde

  10. #10
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    Default Bio Detection

    Don't take this wrong but, the 5 Step process is not a system that can let you know if you can send a sample to the lab or not. The reality of this is that all samples will have to go to the lab for the gold standard, however, buy using a process that can give you a priority of which gets to the lab for the standard first is what we need. Also is the fact that first responders in the feild need a system by which you can "rule out" the hoax call. Turbidity is not a good way of looking at threat level. We as humans can only see 10^6, tider below this can not bee seen by the human eye and is a dangerous level for disease. Postive protein test must have a control, and should look at protein macromolecules, all this test is looking for is the possibility of a good environment, in a assocaition with the pH range. These are great preliminary tests however MUST be followed by an antigen/antibody test.
    This is not an issue of right or wrong, it is an issue of how we as responders must start to think. This biological area is very intensely complicated area of HazMat response. I can count on one hand those responders that really understand this area. As far as the Anniston Test is concerned, two weeks ago this process was questioned by CDP. Several responders, PhD’s from the nations top labs, and it was stated that we as a response community must look at the issue in a more global sense. Additionally, testing for biological it will become critical that several technologies are incorporated. It is not what we find it’s what we don’t.
    In working the process it can be “fooled” on several levels.
    As this is a forum of open discussion, we need to learn from all, and in this area we need to depend on each other. By saying that this is positive step towards bio detection, that is a start but not a good one. The question I ask, would you use a CGI for all your HazMat detection all the time no matter what.
    PS.
    As far as biological pH goes, no single organism can tolerate the full spectrum of pH. There are three basic categories two of which overlap. The Acidiophiles grow best at a pH of 1. – 5.4 Lactobacillus is an example of this they produce lactic acid, Some bacteria in this area oxidize sulfur into sulfuric acid. (This is the bacterium that has been found between the inner lining and the out shell of old MC306). Neutrophiles can exist from pH 5.4 to 8, most of the diseases that are a problem for human disease process falls within this are, some are acidiophiles at the high end around 4-5.3. Alkaliphiles exist from 7 to 11.5. Cholera as an example likes the basic side in and around 8-9. The overall pH range that is useful for the organism to have is a medium which mimics the pH range of certain target areas of the human body, thus is why the pH has been established of 4 –8. To be absolutely safe we should have an established range of 4-10, because some organisms like the extra alkali side.

    Thanks for your time

  11. #11
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    Alright, educate me. Isn't the CDP test a screening tool designed to look for the presence of certain indicators that the sample being tested is a biological material? If this initial field test has a positive result then further testing is in order. If the field test shows that the sample does not possess attributes indicative of it being a biological substance then it is not sent to the lab to be cultured. If this is not the case wouldn't we just collect samples, without field testing, and send them directly to the lab for quantitative testing?

    The process you describe would be an intermediete step to qualify the results of the field test and to further establish the presence of biological indicators (protein, antigen/antibodies, cellular morphology, DNA, etc). The next step would be to culture a sample in a lab, see what grows and make a definitive classification.

    The vast majority of depts can not afford to purchase thousands of dollars of testing equipment unless they've received a grant. The CDP test provides not only a test they can afford, but one that they can afford a lot of. This is of course provided that it's a valid test. Can you be more specific as to what is being questioned about the CDP test?
    "Experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes." Oscar Wilde

  12. #12
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    Default 5 Step

    I agree that the level of expense is quite steep. And you are right the idea is to screen the “substance” for either further evaluation, or a more concentrated operation. The question becomes does this test change my operational response, as it stands now he answer is no. The document as a whole is still in revision because of some of these issues. Where false negatives are the biggest concern. However lets go through the process, Step 2 shaking the vial to see if you have a fine cloud or haze. You are assuming that the micron size is small enough to present this phenomenon, Anthrax will do this if at the proper micro size, however, Anthrax as an example will coagulate, thus the reason for a silica based produced mixed in to reduce the electrostatic activity (less clumping) because silica based products are heavier then the bio, the haze does not happen as quickly. The issue here is weight and size of the “products” you may or may not see the haze but doe not make this step positive or negative. A very subjective test!
    Step 3 Turbidity, has to do with how much of the stuff is in the water, you have to have quite a lot before the human eye can see the level of turbidity that makes this test positive. Roughly 10^6. Again a very subjective test! pH is self-explanatory and I agree with 4-9. Step 5 with the protein test strip needs a control step Protein tests need a significant amount of the stuff. If the amount is below the response range then a negative test. Tricking protein tests are easy again, a negative. The 99% was achieved as a 50/50 split, then another 50/50 to move towards the 99%. The proper way is to take repetitive samples lots of 100 and see which percentage comes up. Wasting samples the sample needs to go to the lab when you have small amounts of “powder” using this test (which is stated in the original article – standard procedures must be made for all) may chew up your entire sample. As a closing comment we should be concerned about the False Negative, this test leads to that conclusion. The issue is will this test (or any other test for that matter) change your operational goals. Until you place antigen/antibody response, associated with the concepts that this test present which are valid, then you start to diminish the false negative. Adding more advanced procedures such as IR, Microscopy, and PCR reduces this even smaller.
    I realize that this issue is a massive one; it is also very, very expensive in terms of equipment and training. I further realize that the more rural department that may not have the resources needed to do something in order to address this issue, because the response in not dependent on your urban or rural profile. The answer is a hard one; the issue is that when this call type comes to the responding unit that we handle it in a very specific manner. This test needs some holes fixed, additionally I believe all departments should receive the monies that they need to apply technology top this incident type. I realize that that may not occur so what do we do in the meantime.
    On a global scale, (answer) we need to look at these issues very very carefully; we can’t afford to have problems with our detection and testing procedures. In a nutshell this test can give us just that a false negative. For those departments that cannot afford expensive detection in this area, this test is not the panacea, and in some cases may cause a higher degree of concern (false sense of security). I would hope we could come up with ideas that will help all of us in this area, and thus the true power of this forum. I would hate to see any brother or sister have a probelm becasue of a false negative, and that is my concern.

  13. #13
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    The validity of the Anniston procedure is being called into question because of a lack of repeditivity during testing right? (since the ability to repeat results is a key element of establishing a valid quantitative test) My understanding of the step testing for aerosolization is to determine if the sample is micro-pulverized as weapons grade (inhalation) anthrax would be and that the turbidity test is looking for attributes of binding, again an indicator of weapons grade anthrax. I agree that these are both extremely subjective but they are gross tests. I think the key element is that one should err on the side of caution if unsure of the results and continue along the matrix to the next step as if a positive result was obtained. If a false negative on the protein test is readily obtainable, is there a simple process that could be used as a control?

    My problem with moving into the more advanced testing procedures is the competency of the ERP to conduct the testing. Staining and illuminating/flouresing cellular material for microscopic examination is in and of itself rather simple as it's done in every biology lab in college. However, cellular morphology requires a wee bit more expertise. If I had a degree in micro, which I don't, I might feel competent in classifying various forms of bacillus. As you suggest though, there probably isn't a plethora of ERPs who are competent enough in micro to conduct field microscopy. I am fortunate enough to have Gary Gordon from Boeing Fire less than 1000 feet away from my station.

    The Bio-Seeq is a tremendous achievement as it takes DNA testing from the lab and puts it in the hands of the ERP in the field and kudos should be given to Lawrence Livermore lab and Smith's. Again though, I would think that its $2000+ price tag is going to limit its presence in the field.

    After the 2001 anthrax attacks we were inudated with white powder calls. Everything white short of snow was called in as a suspicious substance. I went on five calls where the white powder was fusee residue on the roadway left over from flare patterns at traffic collisions. We had literally hundreds of calls for white powders and folks bringing stuff to the stations on top of that. Our test procedure at the time was to look at it and make a judgement as to whether or not it might be a viable biological agent, how's that for a subjective test? We have over 600 members on our dept and a widely available testing process would have proven invaluable. I think that the use of a process like the CDP test would change our operational response and bring it more in line with that for a chemical incident.
    Last edited by ARFF26; 11-04-2004 at 02:29 PM.
    "Experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes." Oscar Wilde

  14. #14
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    Default Bio Process

    I think we are saying about the same, it is the process that we have a dissagreement about. Instead of goining back and forth, lets start with the beginning of the process, and discuss each avenue. Alowing the strength of the fourm to come togeter for a generalize scheme for such an event. I think this would assist those that are still haveing a hard time with this.

    First we need to out line the general parameters

    ????????????????

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