Quickly Diagnose Avian Flu with Luggable Biosensor

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With fears of an avian flu pandemic on the rise, a group at Georgia Tech has made it easy for researchers in the field to identify and analyze the virus using nothing more than a laptop and a small suitcase-sized biosensor (demonstrated by scientist Jie Xu at left). Usually it takes several hours in a wet lab to identify strains of avian flu, but the new biosensor works in minutes. Now researchers can rapidly determine whether a sick bird is carrying the dangerous H5N1 strain of the virus that has occasionally jumped to humans. This portable biosensor is more than just a great way to combat the spread of H5N1. It's also proof that biotech may follow in the footsteps of computer tech, evolving from giant mainframe-sized devices to desktop-sized consumer electronics to handhelds. Sign me up for the handheld virus analyzer, coming to you from Apple in 2018.


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