Early Warnings for Bioterror Threats

A surge of post-September 11 funding has research on a fast track, but much needs to be done before anyone can breathe easy

John Skardon's wife and daughter suffer from asthma, which can be exacerbated by dust or pollen. So to keep track of the air quality in his home, Skardon invented a device the size of a smoke detector that continually sniffs the air for excess moisture or dirt. In 1999, he founded AirAdvice in Portland, Ore., which sells the device and a related service -- e-mail or fax alerts and online reports on air quality -- to 1,000 individual and corporate customers. Since last September 11, AirAdvice has also been working with experts designing ways to fight bioterrorism.

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