The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says a proof-of-concept study shows nanotechnology might be able to detect anthrax after a bioterrorism attack.
"The FDA findings could form the basis of a test that allows earlier diagnosis of anthrax infection than currently possible," said Indira Hewlett, the senior author of the FDA study. "The earlier those infected with anthrax can be treated, the better."
The assay — the Europium Nanoparticle-based Immunoassay — was able to detect the presence of a protein made by the anthrax bacteria known as protective antigen, the FDA said. "Protective antigen combines with another protein called lethal factor to form anthrax lethal factor toxin, the protein that enters cells and causes toxic effects."