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Biodetection Technologies for First Responders

NCJ Number
C. Baird; D. Seiner; R. Ozanich; R. Bartholomew; H. Colburn; T. Straub; C. Bruckner-Lea
Date Published
November 2012
71 pages
This report presents summary descriptions of commercially available, hand-portable bio-detection technologies, which can be used by first responders to determine whether a suspicious substance found at a crime scene contains biological material.
The descriptions focus on five features: ease-of-use in the field; weight and size; total time from sample to answer; type, usefulness, and accuracy of results; and total cost of ownership. The latter feature includes hardware, reagent cost, shelf-life, instrument maintenance, upgrades, and training needs. The intent of the information provided in the descriptions is to assist in procurement decisions regarding bio-detection technologies. The descriptions are grouped according to similar technologies relevant to the investigation of potential biological threat incidents. The groupings include sample collection kits; non-specific assays, including protein, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and spectroscopic assays; immunoassays; and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection systems. This is not intended to be an exhaustive presentation of technologies nor an endorsement of any technology presented. The information is primarily vendor-provided; however, where possible, it has been supplemented with additional information obtained from publications, reports, and Web sites. The information presented was reviewed by manufacturers for accuracy from August through November 2012. Where possible, publicly available, peer-reviewed publications that evaluate the performance of a technology have been used; however, such publications are rare and often outdated. References for each technology are provided. Tables and figures