Virus-detection system works in a city near you

A federal research lab in Livermore, Calif., that once served as the government’s Cold War research unit has a different function in the post 9/11-era -- it houses researchers who protect the public from exposure to anthrax and smallpox, reports the Associated Press.

There, researchers have created a pathogen early-warning system named Biowatch, that uses special detectors deployed in 30 U.S. cities thatcan identify pathogens by sniffing the air and can alert authorities before people start becoming sick, the article said.

And while the air is collected and tested daily by technicians, the government is protecting the locations of the detectors, what pathogens they search for and even which 30 cities house them, although New York and Washington, D.C. are among those being monitored and 80 percent of the U.S. population is covered, the project leader, told the AP.

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