The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a new Request for Information (RFI) in support of the BioWatch program.
The goal of the Department of Homeland Security BioWatch program is to detect the presence of biological agents of concern in a timely manner and identify the target agents with a high degree of confidence.
BioWatch conducts near-continuous aerosol sample collection using dry filters to collect environmental particulates. Samples are manually retrieved and transported to a laboratory for analysis on a daily basis. The laboratory extracts particulate material from the filters and then prepares the material for analysis. The analysis begins with a screening of the sample, followed by a more in-depth confirmatory analysis if necessary.
Plans to automate this analysis process under BioWatch Gen 3 were put on hold earlier this year due to cost concerns.
This new RFI seeks technologies for autonomous biodetection system with capabilities to:
- Identify multiple potential biological agents of concern simultaneously
- Discriminate between target organisms and near-neighbors or background organisms
- Demonstrate a high degree of sensitivity and specificity
- Demonstrate a low rate of false positives and false negatives
- Maximum six hour turnaround time (from sample collection thru analysis results transmission)
- Preservation of sample viability to allow for potential further analysis
- Adjustable collection cycle duration
- Ability to archive time-resolved samples
- Transmit data, results, and system status electronically to a remote operator control center
- Ability to operate autonomously without human intervention for up to 2 weeks
The RFI will assist DHS in understanding the most current capabilities available to support possible future BioWatch solicitations.
Further details are available via Solicitation Number: HSHQDC-15-I-11105. The RFI response deadline is January 30, 2015.
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 in the areas of: Portable Biological Identifier Systems, Trigger/Detector Technologies, Aerosol Collection and Alternatives to PCR Detection.