April 13, 2009
New ricin detection test is developed
U.S. scientists say they have developed a highly sensitive test that can accurately detect and quantify the presence of ricin, a potent bioterrorism toxin.
Researchers at Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, led by Professor Vern Schramm, said the protein -- in the form of a powder, mist, pellet or solution -- can be injected or inhaled, As little as one-half milligram of ricin is lethal to humans. No antidote is available.
In retrospect, said Schramm,
like many scientific advances, it's such a simple idea that I'm surprised it wasn't thought of earlier.
Schramm said he believes the assay's most immediate application is for discovering drugs that could serve as antidotes for ricin poisoning.
The study is reported in the journal Analytical Chemistry.