[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Bio-terror hope for bug buster
Bioterrorism (generic)
Bio-terrorism is regarded by governments as a growing threat
A new bug-busting device which could help combat bio-terrorism may bring hundreds of jobs to Wales.

Bioantigen, of Port Talbot, and its German partners have developed the Biowhirlwind, which they claim kills all known diseases living in water.

It was put to the test at its official launch in the town on Tuesday.

Its makers say it has attracted interest from the Ministry of Defence as well as leading scientists from around the world.

Just using air and water at very high pressures we believe we can inactivate, in theory, any microbe on the planet
Steve Law

Steve Law, of Bioantigen, said all microbes could be killed by passing water and air through a vortex in a steel cube at extremely high pressures.

The possibility of using the device if terrorists managed to contaminate water supplies or infect cooling towers at targets such as airports is being investigated.

If it finds a market Mr Law hopes it will lead to a huge expansion of the company, which currently has a workforce of 13.

"It's brand new technology but we like to think it's lo-tech rather than hi-tech," he said.

"In the centre of the cube is what we call the combustion chamber - that's where a vortex action takes place.

"Just using air and water at very high pressures we believe we can inactivate, in theory, any microbe on the planet.

"The main problems in terms of threats like bio-terrorism would perhaps be putting something bad into a stored water system or if it were put into a cooling tower and it them spread into the atmosphere.

"Our machine can treat the problem at source and make sure water stays fresh, clean and bug free.

"We've had calls in from America, Korea, China, in fact virtually every country you can imagine."

The company has grown rapidly, and further expansion would be inevitable, according to its founder, if the new device found a market.

"At the moment we have gone from a very small company - just me - to having 13 people since Christmas," said Mr Law.

Warning over NHS bioterror plans
28 Oct 03  |  Health
'Millions at bioterror risk'
03 Apr 03  |  Health
Doctors deliver bio-terror warning
05 Mar 03  |  Politics



News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific