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Teknik Bio-Watch Untuk Deteksi Dini Bioterorisme

Teknik-teknik pengambilan sampel permukaan dan udara (air and surface sampling techniques) valid untuk deteksi dini dan melawan serangan bioterorisme serta menyelamatkan nyawa banyak orang. Begitu hasil riset dan kajian Alexander Garza, M.D., M.P.H., mantan kepala medis Department of Homeland Security dan tim peneliti pada Los Alamos National Laboratory (Santa Fe, New Mexico) di Amerika Serikat (Saint Louis University, 9/5/2014).

Hasil riset dan kajian tim ahli itu dirilis oleh jurnal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism edisi Mei 2014 (Alexander G. Garza, Sheila M. Van Cuyk, Michael J. Brown, Kristin M. Omberg, “Detection of the Urban Release of aBacillus anthracisSimulant by Air Sampling”, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 2014).

Garza dan koleganya mengkaji data serangkaian eksperimen simulasi serangan bioterorisme terhadap Pentagon, Departemen Pertahanan Amerika Serikat (Department of Defence / DoD) tahun 2005-2009. Saat itu, Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) melakukan serangkaian simulasi serangan teroris ke Pentagon dengan melepas satu jenis bakteri tidak berbahaya yang secara biologis mirip Bacillus anthracis—bakteri penyebab penyakit antraks. Tim ahli itu mengevaluasi prosedur-prosedur respons lokal terhadap serangan bioterorisme itu (Science Daily, 9/5/2014).

Department of Homeland Security Amerika Serikat melakukan eksperimen sendiri untuk menguji efektivitas teknik pengambilan sampel permukaan dan udara (Bio-Watch) guna deteksi dini unsur-unsur biologis (biological agents) pada suatu lingkungan dalam serangan bioterorisme. Dalam rangkaian uji-coba itu, beberapa kg bahan biologis tidak berbahaya—termasuk simulan-simulan antraks—dilepas. Tim peneliti itu mengumpulkan sampel-sampelnya dari udara melalui beberapa unit pengambilan sampel protabel dan menganalisisnya dalam lab-lab khusus.

“We were able to detect the biological organisms released several kilometers from where the agent was originally released. We were not entirely surprised by the results. Since all of the modeling that had been done to date showed that air samplers should be able to detect these types of attack, what was missing was empirical evidence showing that these systems would work in real world conditions. We now have that evidence,” papar Alexander G. Garza, dekan praktik kesehatan masyarakat dan associate professor epidemiologi  pada Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice di Amerika Serikat (Riya V. Anandwala/Saint Louis University, 9/5/2014).

Selama ini, Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice mengembangkan riset, solusi, dan inovasi bidang kesehatan masyarakat, karya sosial, kebijakan kesehatan, manajemen kesehatan, epidomiologi, bio-statistika, kesehatan lingkungan, manajemen emergensi, biosekuriti dan siaga-persiapan menghadapi bencana, kriminologi dan pengadilan terhadap kejahatan (Saint Louis University, 9/5/2014).

Konsep dan teknik ini—lazim disebut BioWatch--dikembangkan dan digunakan oleh Pemerintah Amerika Serikat (AS) pasca serangan teroris (9/11) ke Pentagon Arlington-County dan pusat bisnis gedung kembar World Trade Center di Manhattan, Amerika Serikat pada 9 September 2001, yang menewaskan 2.996 orang, melukai 6.000 orang dan menimbulkan kerugian properti dan bangunan sekitar 10 miliar dollar AS (Matthew J. Morgan, 4/8/2009; Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, 2003-2004). Saat ini, teknik BioWatch digunakan oleh Department of Homeland Security dan Department of Defense di Amerika Serikat (Science Daily, 9/5/2014). Sheila M. Van Cuyk + Saint Louis University.

“The traditional way to detect that someone has been exposed to a biological agent is to wait until a person becomes symptomatic and then hope that the clinician is able to correctly diagnose the patient, which is exactly what happened during the anthrax attacks in 2001. This experiment confirmed that a biological attack could be detected earlier using air sampling which means public health would have more time to respond,” papar Alexander G. Garza (Saint Louis University, 9/5/2014).

Lama waktu deteksi dini serangan bioterorisme melalui teknik BioWatch berkisar 12-36 jam. Upaya mempersingkat siklus deteksi dini ini bertujuan mempercepat respons menyelematkan nyawa banyak orang. “The current process is labor-intensive and time-consuming. It takes a lot of manual labor and time to do the laboratory work. If we can detect a dangerous pathogen in the environment at an earlier stage, we can quickly start planning the response procedure for it like distributing antibiotics.The sooner we pick up clues, the sooner we can act and save more lives,” ungkap Alexander G. Garza (Saint Louis University, 9/5/2014).

Oleh: Servas Pandur