Swiss scientists have discovered a test that they say can detect the deadly anthrax in minutes. Diagnostic tests for the disease already exist, but they are expensive and time-consuming. Time is critical because anthrax infection is fatal unless treated within 24 hours.
Professor Peter Seeberger and his team at Bern University first set out to create antibodies against the anthrax surface molecule. They then attached this molecule to a special carrier protein and injected it into mice, reported the online edition of BBC News.
The mice mounted an immune response to the injection. The scientists were then able to obtain antibodies from the mice that were specific for the anthrax surface molecule.
The scientists believe these antibodies could be used to make a highly sensitive test for anthrax. In the future it might also be possible to develop new anthrax vaccines with the antibodies.
Professor Seeberger explained: