Rapid molecular testing for bioterrorism agents: Targets, tactics, and technology

Deborah Ann Payne, John Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Biological agents most likely to be used as bioweapons are those that are easily disseminated, highly infectious, and would significantly impact the feeling of security of a given population. Rapid detection of these agents would help counteract the strategic and tactical usefulness of these bioweapons. Point-of-care-testing (POCT) helps the healthcare provider in making a differential diagnosis and while it is the ultimate goal for nucleic acid/molecular testing especially for the area of biodefense, additional technological advances are required before it can be offered clinically. Even though testing for agents with bioweapon potential is not the focus of most clinical molecular pathology laboratories, the prevalence and rapidity of diagnostic nucleic acid based assays supports their use for this application. This review will focus on the targets, tactics and technology for rapid detection of nucleic acids using current and emerging technologies as it applies to biodefense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-357
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Ligand Assay
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bed side testing
  • DNA
  • Infectious
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Nucleic acid testing (NAT)
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • RNA
  • Rapid thermocylcer
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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