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ASU receiving nearly $39M to develop tool to detect WMD exposure

(Getty Images Photo/Sean Gallup)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University will be receiving almost $39 million to create a tool to fight against weapons of mass destruction.

The school announced Tuesday that the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency chose it to work on the national security project over four years.

ASU is tasked with building a device that can determine in 30 minutes or less if a person has been exposed to WMDs, including biological agents, radiation and explosives.

Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the ASU Biodesign Institute, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the device could help identify perpetrators and diagnose troops.

“In some of those situations, it may be days or even weeks before the soldiers get back to a field hospital where they can be tested,” LaBaer said.

“And so the idea is, is there something that we could measure from the soldier him or herself that could indicate to us that that individual has been exposed?”

According to a press release, the technology under development could also be used to create a method to diagnose diseases.

LaBaer said something that helped ASU win the grant is its previous success in creating a device that can detect the level of exposure to an “unanticipated radiologic or nuclear event.”

“It’s a very challenging project, but one that we think is very important,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 

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