Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax)

The Pathogen

Bacillus anthracis is a large, Gram-positive, spore-forming, rod bacterium living in the soil. It can cause anthrax disease in domestic and wild animals, as well as humans. The pathogenic bacteria is highly resilient and very difficult to eradicate. Spores can survive under the most extreme conditions and can remain dormant for decades, even centuries, until conditions become favorable. In suitable environments, spores multiply rapidly and impede the host’s immune system, allowing bacteria to grow and propagate freely, with little to no immune system response. Because of this rapid growth and ability to create toxins that hinder cellular functionality, anthrax is regarded as a dangerous biological threat. It is highly deadly and the mortality rate is close to 100 percent if treatment is delayed.

The Problem

Highly resistant Bacillus anthracis spores, coupled with the ability to produce toxins and rampant growth, make anthrax highly lethal in a short amount of time. Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics, however, treatment must begin early and continue for an extended period of time to completely eradicate the bacteria. Resultant symptoms can be vague and flu-like, impeding proper diagnosis and accelerating mortality rate. Additionally, antibiotics used during the onset of acute systems may destroy the organisms, but not the existing toxins. Most often this leads to death by sepsis, respiratory failure and shock.

A profoundly lethal pathogen, Bacillus anthracis is considered by the CDC to be a "Category A" biological agent, or one that poses the greatest risk to national security because of its high potential to be used in bioterrorism applications. Another Category A agent is Yersina pestis (bubonic plague). Learn more about Y. pestis.>

The NanoLogix Solution - Live-threat microorganism detection in 6 hours

Rapid detection is of the utmost importance with such lethal agents as anthrax, because of the high potential for widespread impact on public safety. Current detection methods include Petri culturing, antibody recognition, PCR and BCA (bio-barcode assays). However, these methods are limited by several factors including cost, shelf-life, complexity of the test and lengthy detection times.

Using NanoLogix technology, laboratory technicians can detect and identify living B. Anthracis “in multiple matrices within a shorter time frame compared to traditional culture methods” (source: Letters In Applied Microbiology). Test results for anthrax can be slashed from 24 to approximately 6 hours. This speed reduces wait times by 40 percent. Recent BNF test protocol changes have resulted in <1 hour results for detection and identification by third-party laboratories.

The implications of using NanoLogix Quick Tests to detect anthrax is far-reaching, especially for a pathogen of this magnitude. The many advantages include 40 percent faster detection time and treatment, as well as a lessening of a biowarfare attack and increased public safety in the event of a large-scale anthrax outbreak or bioterrorism attack. These benefits lead to faster containment and reduced clean-up efforts which, in turn, lead to reduced costs. NanoLogix technology also provides simple portability for applications in the field.