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Release: Sept. 26, 2002

Biological Warfare Expert To Deliver Lecture Oct. 3

When emergency workers respond to a biological threat such as a suspicious powdery substance found in a letter, samples are typically sent to a centralized laboratory for analysis. Results may not be available for 12 to 48 hours, hampering authorities' efforts to determine if the case is a hoax or a genuine threat. However, technology now exists that enables emergency responders to identify hazardous biological agents in the field in as few as 15 minutes.

On Oct. 3, Gary Long, Ph.D., a senior scientist for Tetracore, Inc., a biotechnology research and development laboratory that creates devices for detecting agents of infectious diseases and biological warfare, will present, "Rapid Laboratory and Field Identification of Human and Agricultural Bioterrorism Agents." The free lecture will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the Raymond R. Rembolt Conference Room in the University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development (formerly University Hospital School).

"The development of rapid diagnostic tests for agents of bioterrorism is very dynamic, and their field use is somewhat controversial," said Gregory Gray, Ph.D., UI professor of epidemiology. "Dr. Long's presentation will help us to understand the latest developments in this area."

In his presentation, Long will describe what rapid immunologic identification tests are, including their use in the clinical laboratory and role in field identification, and discuss molecular identification as it relates to West Nile virus, foot-and-mouth disease virus, and agents of bioterrorism.

The presentation is part of the Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP), based in the UI College of Public Health. Advanced registration for the lecture is requested and may be completed online at

Prior to co-founding Tetracore, Inc. in 1999, Long served as head of the Biological Defense Research Program (BDRP) at the Naval Medical Research Institute. Long's program was one of the first to develop methods for rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) identification of biological warfare agents. He has also served as an inspector for the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and performed inspections of biological warfare facilities.

The public health Grand Rounds series is sponsored by the ICPHP and the Iowa Association of Local Public Health Agencies. The ICPHP is funded by a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health. For more information about the Grand Rounds series, contact Shari Heick at (319) 335-6994.