Battelle's biodetection system emerged after Gulf War

Battelle, an independent research and development organization, recently said its new Resource Effective BioIdentification System (REBS) originally emerged to help the U.S. Army deal with chemical and biological agents after the Gulf War.

Matthew Shaw, the vice president and general manager of Battelle's CBRNE defense business unit, said the Army was not prepared to identify and deal with the dangerous agents during the first Gulf War. Battelle stepped in to help figure out what commercial technology would work for biodetection, reports.

"We helped them essentially create a laboratory on a truck," Shaw said. "That required a lot of manpower and liquid consumables, which add significant cost, logistics and safety issues, and it kept the warfighters from performing their primary mission. Fast forward to today. Battelle has taken the man and the consumables out of the loop with REBS.

Battelle recently announced production of REBS, a next-generation chemical and biological hazard sensor system meant to operate at a fraction of the cost of current technologies. The company is offering the technology for the Department of Defense, homeland security and other biodefense initiatives.

"With REBS, we have the ability to detect and identify new agents quickly and safely," Shaw said, according to "Competitive systems require weeks or months to develop new assays before they can be included in a detection system. If a new SARS-like virus emerges, say in the Middle East, Battelle can upload the signature electronically to REBS and the device can be 'looking' for the new agent in just 24 hours."

Battelle demonstrated the effectiveness of REBS in multiple trials, including successful developmental testing with live biological agents like anthrax. REBS can be operated, monitored and updated via the internet, reports.