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US EPA Webinar – Oct. 13 Biothreat Agent Detection: Advances in Rapid Analytical Methods

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

Upcoming Webinar

Biothreat Agent Detection: Advances in Rapid Analytical Methods

October 13, 2021, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

About this Webinar

It took nearly two years and $189 million to clean up one of seven buildings contaminated with Anthrax-causing bacterial spores in 2001. A main component of clean up after a biological release is understanding how far a contaminant spreads and whether it is present in affected locations. Traditional methods to determine presence of a biological agent are labor-, cost-, and time-intensive, which slows down decision-making necessary for recovery. In the event of a biothreat release, thousands of environmental samples, such as surface, air, and water, may need to be analyzed rapidly. Therefore, the need for rapid viability testing methods are a priority to assist with responding to biothreats as well as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The EPA has developed Rapid Viability PCR (RV-PCR) methods, which can determine the presence or absence of live biothreat agents such as the bacteria causing anthrax, plague, and tularemia. This webinar will discuss historical aspects of viability testing methods and how they led to RV-PCR methods. It will also discuss how prior research assisted in the development of Rapid Viability Reverse Transcriptase PCR method for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and how it may be used in future pandemics.

About the Presenter

Dr. Sanjiv R. Shah is a Senior Microbiologist in the Homeland Security & Materials Management Division within the Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response of the U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD). Since 1998, while working for the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) and the EPA-ORD, he has been actively contributing to the biodefense research, especially, in the development of analytical methods; and development, and test and evaluation of biosensors technologies for rapid, specific, sensitive, and high-throughput detection of biothreat agents in environmental and water samples. He just completed leading the development of a very rapid method to detect infectious SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a member of many interagency biodefense/ homeland security expert panels, committees, and work groups. He is involved in several biodefense research collaborations at the national and international level. Prior to 1998, he worked at premier research institutions such as the NIH, and the University of Maryland Medical School, and also in pharmaceutical industries, to enrich his basic and applied research experience in microbiology, molecular biology, molecular neurobiology, industrial microbiology, and antibiotic fermentations. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology. He has published his research in international journals and reports. He has received several prestigious awards from the U.S. Army and the EPA for his contributions to biodefense research.

For more information on this event, visit the U.S. EPA Emergency Response Research webpage.

Oct 13 Biothreat Agent Detection Webinar
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