When it comes to testing for contaminants-whether in your lab, production facility, or even in your own body-nothing is more excruciating than the wait. Current testing methods are painfully slow: It takes about a full week to get results from most labs, and there is nothing you can do but gnaw at your fingernails and plan for the worst.
BioVigilant has developed a unique tool that automatically detects a variety of contaminants such as mold, bacteria, dust and smog almost immediately. This is incredible news, since lab testing for the same contaminants is typically time consuming, costly and labor intensive (often requiring the growth of a substance on petri-dishes and identifying contaminants by squinting through a microscope).
While waiting for lab results, companies lose incredible amounts of money since they need to halt production. Not only that, but items such as medicines or water are wasted, since even the slight chance of exposing people to contaminants like bacteria, mold or a biohazard (like anthrax) is not a risk worth taking.
|The IMD-A 220-4 can sample
28.4 liters per minute.
(Photo: BioVigilant Systems)
BioVigilant explains that their “systems detect-instantaneously and in real time-particulate count, size, and biological status. Unlike other rapid microbial methods, BioVigilant’s optically-based systems require no staining, no reagents, no waiting period, and little human intervention.”
The instruments developed by BioVigilant work non-stop (hence the name). They continuously sample the air in a specific area and screen for particles as small as 0.5 microns. Real time data is then presented on a computer screen for easy viewing. The fact that data can be analyzed and viewed over real time is important: This way, it is easy to determine the precise time an area became contaminated or to analyze how air quality has changed over time.
The Biovigilant systems come in two varieties: The portable version weighs only 30 pounds and draws in around 1 liter of volume per minute, while the larger version can sample around 30 liters per minute and is specifically designed for larger testing areas.
The technology was originally developed for the U.S military who used the systems for the sole purpose of testing the air for bio-agents like anthrax. This is definitely an important cause, but the technology can now be used for other purposes as well. For one thing, they ensure that production is taking place in the cleanest of environments. Not only that, but the technology is also essential in keeping surrounding environments stable by ensuring that no contaminants escape.
At this point, waiting for results is no harder than turning on a monitor, and hopefully what you see is good news.