Ed Yeates reportingGovernment employees may soon have access to specially designed pullover full-body suits which kill anthrax spores.
A Utah company, which makes special air filters for commercial airlines, has developed the outfits so they can be quickly pulled over street clothes.
John Jensen pulls out a bright orange one piece suit. The fabric is impregnated with a compound which inhibits the growth of a broad range of bacterial agents, including anthrax spores. Once zippered shut he can safely walk out of a building targeted by a bioterrorist.
DR. GLENN MEIXELL, BIOX-USA: "SO YOU HAVE THE MECHANICAL EFFICIENCY OF THE PRODUCT TRAPPING WHATEVER MIGHT BE FALLING ON THE SUIT, INSTEAD OF HAVING IT FALLING ON THE INDIVIDUAL AS THEY TRY TO WALK OUT OF A SITUATION LIKE THAT."
Before signing any contracts, the Government wanted two certified independent tests. One came from Nelson Labs. The other from a local university.
Because a surrogate or mimick of anthrax is used, the lab itself was off limits to us. But a technician demonstrated in a training room how the fabric was cut into one inch squares - then injected wih mockup spores.
Both labs came up with what is called a Two Log Reduction of the spores, or a 99 percent kill ratio.
ED YEATES, SCIENCE SPECIALIST: "UNLIKE OUTFITS WORN BY PROFESSIONAL DECONTAMINATORS, THESE SUITS ARE DESIGNED FOR THE AVERAGE OFFICE WORKER. LET'S SAY I WAS WORKING IN A U.S. EMBASSY. I COULD QUICKLY PUT THE SUIT ON IN ABOUT 30 SECONDS."
MEIXELL: "THE APPLICATION CAN RANGE FROM, SAY U.S. POSTAL SERVICE TO STATE DEPARTMENT, TO AIR FORCE, TO THOSE SORTS OF AGENCIES. SO IT REALLY HAS A BROAD RANGE OF APPLICABILITY ACROSS THE BOARD."
Utah based BioX-USA and AlphaProtech have joined forces to make the suits en mass should the Government now sign the contract.
The protective suits run from $275 to $350 each.