There is a critical need for a pathogen detection and identification low cost device that can give results on site in seconds, not hours or days or later in a laboratory. The need includes viruses, bacteria, and protozoa.
Since the arrival of COVID 19, without widespread instantaneous testing results, much of the world virtually shut down. Many individuals have succumbed to the virus and the economy has been seriously damaged (lost jobs, shortage of goods, civil unrest, etc.). A shut-down-world leads to chaos: evidence is shown daily on any local news station.
In recent years, the food industry has seen a significant increase in the number of reported incidents of illness caused by food contamination. Whether that increase is due to heightened awareness, strengthened reporting requirements or increased presence of pathogens in the food chain, the industry has faced significant challenges as a result of food poisoning: liability to injured customers; legal defense costs; increased insurance costs; recall costs and loss of reputation and sales. In some instances, the monetary damage to the food producers forced them out of business.
There is also heightened awareness of the potential for bioterrorism. There is a need to monitor public water supplies and imported foods for intentional pathogenic contamination. The Department of Homeland Security recognizes Bacillus anthracis as one of the most serious mass casualty threats facing the United States. The Department of Defense also recognizes the risk of bio-warfare. Again, current pathogen detection and identification technologies simply cannot fulfill those needs to continuously monitor public water/food supplies and the environments in which US forces operate.