PositiveID creates lab in a box for BioWatch program

PositiveID recently created a laboratory in a box for the Department of Homeland Security's BioWatch program, according to an article in the March issue of National Defense.

It took six years of development for PositiveID to create the microfluidic bio-agent autonomic networked detector, or M-BAND. The device can collect and detect a variety of airborne toxins and pathogens in a self-contained unit. M-BAND then transmits the results to smartphones or other devices every three hours, NationalDefenseMagazine.org reports.

The current BioWatch program requires that technicians gather the samples on site and take them to a laboratory to be examined. Results using the current system take between 24 and 36 hours. It has been a goal for the BioWatch3 program to do all the processing on site to reduce costs and the logistical burden.

PositiveID received $30 million in funding from the DHS Science & Technology Directorate to develop M-BAND.

Lyle Probst, the president of PositiveID, said the M-BAND can deliver results every three hours and reduce the amount of time and money required compared to the previous two generations of BioWatch.

"With results every three hours, you can take action... for affected areas, even before people start showing symptoms," Probst said, according to NationalDefenseMagazine.org.

Reagents that that test for biohazards must be replaced every 30 days. Modules that need to be serviced at a depot can be swapped out in 15 minutes.

While PositiveID waits for the DHS to analyze alternatives to M-BAND, the company is partnering with The Boeing Co. to market M-BAND domestically, NationalDefenseMagazine.org reports.

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