Enabling laboratories to detect bioterror agents and other biothreats

Scientist in in laboratories to detect bioterror agents and other biothreats

In the event of a bioterror attack in the United States, accurate and rapid identification of disease-causing agents prevents illness and saves lives. Thanks to a collaboration between CDC and the Department of Defense (DOD), 16 laboratories around the United States stand ready to identify biothreat agents close to home using a new laboratory diagnostic test. The labs are members of a larger partnership called the Laboratory Response Network (LRN), and each of the 16 labs provides regional coverage.

CDC and DOD have worked closely to equip the 16 LRN laboratories with Warrior Panelsexternal icon—a DOD-laboratory developed diagnostic test—and the instrument needed to run the tests. The Warrior Panel tests human samples for biothreats such as those that cause anthrax, tularemia, plague, Q fever, and some viral hemorrhagic fevers, all at the same time. Testing for multiple agents simultaneously means that laboratories can quickly identify or rule out potential threats and take public health action. CDC took necessary steps to ensure the Warrior Panel could be easily and consistently used by highly trained staff in LRN laboratories. With the tests, equipment, and required skills, these laboratories are ready to provide reliable results—quickly enabling public health leaders to make informed decisions with confidence.