Detection of Anthrax
Given the threat posed by B. anthracis in the context of Bioterrorism there is an urgent need to develop detection assays capable of detecting spores in the environment and diagnosing infection.
Aims of Project
An ideal assay would be highly specific, could be used with minimal sample preparation and little if any support equipment, give rapid results in <60 sec, be highly stable at room temperature and could be used repeatedly. In collaboration with colleagues in the department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland in Baltimore we are working to develop thermal stable single chain antibodies from sharks for the detection of anthrax spores and toxin. Shark produced antibodies have been shown to maintain there antibody binding capacity following prolonged heat treatment thus raising the possibility of developing extremely stable assays (Stanfield et al., 2004). In collaboration with Dr Chris Geddes, a fellow faculty member at MBC we are also developing assays based on metal enhanced flourescence which can detect nanogram levels of anthrax biomarkers in human blood in as little as 30 seconds (Aslan and Geddes, 2005).