Life BioScience Awarded NSF Grant to Develop Fast, Inexpensive Diagnostic Platform for Screening Animal Viruses

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $150,000 grant to Albuquerque-based Life BioScience, Inc. (LBSI) for the further development of its proprietary glass ceramic diagnostic platform in the early detection and rapid screening of multiple viruses in animals.

The project will develop an accurate, cost-effective and fast technique for detecting multiple pathogens in animal populations in real-time – without the delays associated with sending samples off-site for analyses. Its development is expected to revolutionize the detection, tracking and monitoring of infectious animal diseases and as a result, significantly strengthen the nation’s bio-security defenses.

This is the second NSF grant that Life BioScience has received in the past few months, which together total $300,000.

Along with the company’s processing expertise, LBSI’s ground-breaking glass ceramic substrate allows for the development of a diagnostic platform that can screen and detect a multitude of analytes (chemical constituents) within animals – from rapidly-transmitted livestock diseases such as swine and avian influenza (including H5N1 and H1N1) to hoof and mouth disease and various nervous system pathogens, like rabies or BSE.

This point-of-care diagnostic capability avoids many of the pitfalls associated with current approaches for screening large animal populations, including invasive procedures such as “ear notches” or blood draws that require days to obtain results. It promises to revolutionize the diagnosis, care, and treatment of disease in both domesticated livestock and other animal species.

“Given the bio-security risks of both wild-type or engineered pathogens, the agricultural and scientific community have a critical need for a faster, more accurate and cheaper diagnostic platform that can rapidly screen large animal populations,” said Blake Ridgeway, LBSI’s president and CEO. “This project offers an excellent animal model – and starting point -- for developing rapid, minimally invasive transdermal testing procedures for other important bioagents. Our hope is that it will also create positive synergy and direct interaction with research the USDA is currently undergoing.”

LBSI’s research is being conducted in its offices in Albuquerque, NM. This funding is part of the federal government’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program.

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