The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a new Request for Information (RFI) in support of the BioWatch program.
The purpose of this RFI is to determine whether there are mature or developing technologies from commercial or interagency sources that can provide alternatives to polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based analytical platforms currently used in the BioWatch laboratories.
This alternative analytical platform will provide an improved capability to support BioWatch operation’s ability to detect the presence of biological agents of concern in a timely manner. It will operate simultaneously in the laboratory with the current (or future) BioWatch analytical platform analyzing all environmental samples for the presence of the biological agents of concern.
A successful candidate technology will have the ability to:
- Identify multiple potential biological agents of concern simultaneously
- Discriminate between target organisms and near-neighbor or background organisms
- Demonstrate a low rate of false positives and false negatives
- Analyze multiple samples within six hours (time includes sample preparation and analysis)
Responses to this RFI will assist DHS in understanding the number and nature of available solutions. Current demonstrated ability to meet all desired capabilities is not necessary. DHS may or may not elect to follow with solicitations focused on funded development projects in this area.
This RFI is one of several being simultaneously released to assess the state of technologies that can improve the capabilities of the BioWatch Program, including the areas of: Autonomous Indoor Sampling Systems and Portable Biological Identifier Systems, Aerosol Collection and Trigger/Detector Technologies.