US Navy Collaborates With University Of Houston To Study Glow Sticks For Biothreat Detection

The US Navy is collaborating with researchers at the University of Houston to investigate the potential of glow sticks in biothreat detection. Glow sticks, which are usually connected with parties, can be repurposed in this innovative way to serve as a tool for identifying poisons and viruses like COVID-19. The initiative intends to transform biothreat detection and is supported by a $1.3 million task order from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

During an experiment using glow sticks, researchers from the University of Houston, under the direction of Drs. Binh Vu and Katerina Kourentzi discovered the idea was viable. Glow sticks produce bright light when they are disturbed by a chemical reaction. Bio-targets can be illuminated by this similar reaction, making them easy to identify. The group created a prototype lateral flow test that works similarly to COVID-19 or pregnancy tests in that it detects the presence of toxins or proteins and produces a visible reaction.

Navy
Representation Image

The procedure involves cleaning the surface with a swab, adding the sample to a test cassette, and then turning it on with droplets of a liquid glow reagent. Next, the cassette is put inside a 3D-printed “dark box”, and a camera or smartphone app is used to detect the light from it. This technique gives results in 15 minutes and is a quick and affordable way to detect biothreats. These tests can potentially transform how biothreats are discovered and treated, offering a lower-cost alternative to conventional fast testing at about $2 per box.

The US Navy is interested in this approach because of its affordability and simplicity, as they are looking for deployable technology for biothreat identification. The solution is adaptable and can be used in various situations, from public health catastrophes to military operations. The US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery’s Commander Jessica L. McNulty expressed enthusiasm about the partnership and highlighted its potential to improve biodefense capabilities.

University of Houston
Image Credits: University of Houston

Another essential study team member, Dr. Richard Willson, identifies implications for the technology that go beyond biothreat identification. The method might be applied to medical tests, such as HIV detection, and expanded to include additional viruses and environmental pollutants. The glow stick kits’ durability and the potential for multiplex testing add to their desirability for general usage.

Prototypes from the University of Houston will soon be sent to the US Navy for validation testing. This collaboration demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary teamwork in tackling urgent issues, such as public health and national security. Glow sticks represent a promising nexus of science, innovation, and real-world application as they go from being party favours to vital instruments in biothreat detection.

Reference: Fox News, NY Post

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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