(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (io) Pub. No.: US 2004/0063198 Al
Tilles et al. (43) Pub. Date: Apr. 1,2004
(54) POINT SOURCE BIOLOGICAL AGENT DETECTION SYSTEM
(76) Inventors: David J. Tilles, Woodstock, MD (US);
Gabriel A. DiFurio, Baltimore, MD
(US); John C. Schmidt, Baltimore, MD
BIRCH STEWART KOLASCH & BIRCH
PO BOX 747
FALLS CHURCH, VA 22040-0747 (US)
(21) Appl. No.: 10/441,101
(22) Filed: May 20, 2003
Related U.S. Application Data
(60) Provisional application No. 60/381,351, filed on May 20, 2002.
(51) Int. CI.7 C12Q 1/68; C12M 1/34;
This invention is directed to a method and apparatus using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology for collecting air samples and identifying biological agents in the air sample. The apparatus is capable of detecting transient events such as bacillus anthracis in a piece of mail being processed on high-speed mail processing equipment. The system includes apparatus for implementing the following features: particle collection and pre-separation using a collection hood and dry cyclone passive filtration system; continuous particle collection into a liquid sample; automated fluid transfer to a PCR analysis cartridge; and PCR biological identifier apparatus for detecting a bio-agent in a piece of mail following manual transport of the cartridge to the identifier apparatus; retesting of the liquid sample upon various error conditions; confirmation testing upon preliminary positive results; fluid transfer to archive containers at the completion of analysis; and, notification/reporting system to alert designated personnel/organizations upon the occurrence of selected events such as the presence of bacillus anthracis.