Bookmark and Share

Nano-tech company to develop bio-warfare warning system

A UK company has received a £1 million funding package to develop the "best early warning indicator" of biological attack.

Salisbury-based NanoSight has been awarded the cash slew to make a "revolutionary" portable detector containing artificial antibodies created through computer and microelectronics technology.

Current methods of detecting biological agents, whether to give rapid warning of a biological attack, or in the detection of disease before symptoms appear, currently use human and animal cells and involve taking samples to a lab for analysis.

According to the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), this is a slow, painstaking process that could be streamlined thanks to Nanosight's recent research breakthrough which can produce instant results without any of the problems associated with handling and storing biological samples.

The government said that the nano-technique could be applied across the whole spectrum of biotechnology, including "dramatically speeding up drug development, reducing costs for pharmaceutical companies, and also leading to a new generation of high resolution sensors with applications from water safety to homeland security".

Mark White, NESTA Invention and Innovation Director, said: "Nanotechnology has sparked a lot of controversy in the media lately. However, we are delighted to be investing in this groundbreaking idea which applies the technology to areas that could have huge social benefits, such as defence against the ever-growing threat of bio-terrorism."

Today's funding package includes awards from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and DTI.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 January 2005
UN launches plans for global disaster warning system
The United Nations (UN) have launched extensive plans to create a global warning system to lessen the impact of deadly natural disasters.
10 April 2006
Government unveils counter-terrorism centre
The government has unveiled a new centre designed to lead the Ministry of Defence's scientific response to terrorist threats. The Counter-Terrorism Science and Technology Centre will co-ordinate MoD's technical response to terrorist incidents such as last year's attacks on London and the threats the Armed Forces face in areas of conflict overseas.
27 February 2013
Mobile Company Develop Technology To Analyse Voice Calls
Technology that listens in on personal calls to draw up a psychological profile of a speaker according to their tone of voice is being developed by owner of the O2 mobile phone network, Telefónica.
27 June 2011
Drugs Tested At Glastonbury Festival
Over the weekend at the Glastonbury festival drugs were tested, identified and catalogued within hours of being seized. The forensic early warning system will see scientists, police and drugs charities working together to build a fast and accurate picture of new drugs being sold and what harmful substances they contain.
07 June 2007
Virgin launch biodiesel train
The first train to run on biodiesel is being launched by the Virgin rail network. It is understood that one of the firm's Voyager trains has been modified in order to use the environmentally friendly fuel, which will reduce CO2 emissions. The fuel is 20% biodiesel, a fuel which is made from biological sources such as vegetable oils.
20 January 2015
Yellow Warning Issued For Snow
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow across parts of Wales, the Midlands and into northern England. The warning, issued this morning, is valid between 16:00 today (Tuesday) and midday on Wednesday.
09 June 2014
Second Weather Warning Issued For England
The Met Office has issued a new weather warning for areas of England as 20mm of rain is expected to fall in the coming hours. It added that the conditions will bring a risk of damage and disruption from "potentially intense thundery downpours".
17 May 2011
Terror Alerts On Eve Of Queen's Irish Visit
Republican terrorists have kept the police guessing as a bomb threat - apparently by Irish dissidents - was made in London. This was the first such 'coded warning' outside Northern Ireland in 10 years, officials said. Whitehall officials said the call with the coded warning came from a number in the Irish Republic on Sunday evening.
05 December 2005
Relatives’ anger at tsunami inquest
Relatives of 91 Britons killed in the Asian tsunami have expressed anger at a coroner’s inquiry into their deaths. Liz Jones, whose 23-year-old daughter Charlotte died in the Boxing Day disaster, said an early warning system could have saved her daughter’s life.
25 October 2004
UK must act now to defend itself against bio-terrorism, says BMA
If the development of biological and genetic weapons is not curtailed, it will be "virtually impossible" for Britain to defend itself from terrorist bio-weapons attack, according to the British Medical Association (BMA).
05 March 2012
Baby P's Biological Father Given £75k In Damages
The biological father of Baby Peter has been awarded £75,000 in damages after being wrongly accused of being a sex offender. The People newspaper said the man, known only as KC, was convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl.
27 October 2006
E.coli bacteria 'tested as biological weapon'
E.coli bacteria was secretly tested as a possible biological weapon by defence scientists in the 1960s, according to a Ministry of Defence report. According to the 1966 MoD report on the Porton Down laboratory in Wiltshire, the trials were conducted near Swindon and Southampton between 1965 and 1967.
01 August 2012
Research Legacy For Olympic Drug-Testing Lab
David Cameron has announced that a £10m science research centre will be set-up on the site of the Olympic drug-testing laboratories. The facility in Essex aims to lead research on physical characteristics and diseases including dementia and diabetes.
15 March 2005
BT measures to prevent internet dialler problems
BT has announced two new initiatives aimed at tackling internet dialler problems and helping customers protect themselves. The new products are designed to alert customers when their computer connects to a dialler and also when there are dramatic increases in their bills.
09 March 2011
£4M For Nuclear Security Abroad
The UK will make a contribution of £4M to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Security Fund for 2011-13. This will support work to enhance global nuclear security. The contribution was made at the IAEA’s Board of Governors meeting this week in Vienna.