Botulinum toxin detector under development

A new test to detect the presence of low levels of Botulinum toxin is currently being developed by Quanterix Corp. and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

The research, based on Quanterix’s Single Molecule Array technology, is being funded through a year-long contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to UPI.

"The detection of low copy numbers of toxins and pathogenic bacteria for both clinical and environmental applications requires highly sensitive and rapid detection technologies capable of measuring relevant targets within complex sample mixtures," David Duffy, the vice president of research at Quanterix, said, UPI reports. "As a result, the detection of BoNT protein will provide important functional information on the presence of bacteria that complements nucleic acid identification. We believe that this approach could be extended to other bacteria and applications, for example, hospital acquired infections."

Quanterix recently announced that research on the new assay is being conducted at the Botulinum Research Center at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth,

"Early and accurate detection of Botulinum toxin is critical for our national security and public health," Bal Ram Singh, the BRC director, said, UPI reports. "The ability to detect extremely low levels of toxin could significantly improve the diagnosis of botulism and better protect humans in biomedical and bio-defense scenarios."

The DOH contract is value at approximately $250,000.