Duke University has received a $3.7 million contract to develop a test for radiation exposure from a dirty bomb or nuclear attack. The contract comes from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and could be worth up to $43.6 million to Duke if the government renews it in the future. “Since 9/11, there has been national concern about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the U.S. involving radiological or nuclear materials. Such an attack could kill or injure hundreds of thousands of people,” says an associate professor of medicine at Duke and principal investigator of the project, in a Duke press release. “The problem is that right now, we don’t have any way to rapidly screen thousands of people to determine their level of radiation exposure. Many people who suffer radiation injury can recover and survive if they are promptly and properly treated.” The end product will be a portable, 30-minute test for radiation injury that can be used to triage thousands of individuals in a short time following a radiological or nuclear attack.

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