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UB Develops Technology for Use in Bioterror Attacks

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The federal government is providing $3 million in funding for new technology developed by several UB professors for use in biological attacks.

It's called the BioBlower. It destroys deadly pathogens such as anthrax, the SARS virus and bacteria.

UB Professors James Garvey and John Lordi have started their own company -- Buffalo BioBlower Technologies -- to manufacture and market the device. Garvey, a professor of Chemistry, says the technology is surprisingly simple, utilizing a rotary pump and an internal process to provide a continuous flow of sterile, breathable air.

"This disinfection is accomplished without using filters, harmful radiation or toxic chemicals," Garvey explained. "The way it sterilizes the air is an old-fashioned way similar to boiling water. As the air is sucked into the pump, it's compressed to a smaller volume. By compressing the air, pressure is increased as well as the temperature. That increase in pressure and temperature kills any and all biological pathogens that are contained in the airflow."

If all goes as planned, the BioBlower will initially be used by the military to protect troops in the field. But Congresswoman Louise Slaughter says its potential goes far beyond that.

"One of the things that really excites me is the possibility of using this in hospital operating rooms," Slaughter said. "(Imagine) what we can do for industry (in creating) clean rooms, or in (responding to) terrorism attacks in subway systems. It's absolutely wonderful."

The UB professors behind Buffalo BioBlower Technology say they're expecting to employ ten to 12 people initially. That number could expand to 50 or more two years from now if the technology takes off.