A biological agent, also known as bio-agent is a virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite used purposefully as a weapon in biological warfare. Currently, more than 1200 different types of potentially weaponizable bio-agents have been studied. These agents have the capability to affect human health adversely in various ways ranging from serious medical conditions to relatively mild allergic reactions. These agents are very difficult to detect and defend as compared to chemical agents as many primary symptoms of active infection are similar and nonspecific, i.e. fever and fatigue.
Biological detection equipment are the molecular sensing technologies for the detection of these agents. Detection systems should exhibit a high degree of selectivity. The selectivity of a detection system is defined as its ability to discriminate between environmental interferants and target agents. The selectivity of a system is affected by interferants that depend on the type of measurement being conducted. As per the Biological Weapons Convention (1972), use of bio agents is banned.
One of the primary factors driving the global biological detection equipment market is the threat of increasing terrorism across the world. Terrorism is one of the main factors responsible for the increasing use of biological agents. Biological detection equipment is used to detect biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological elements. Integrated biological detection equipment delivers quick warning in the event of a chemical as well as biological warfare. Moreover, it detects toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents that can be weaponized.
The biological detection equipment market is facing challenges from factors like high cost of the equipment. Most of the biological detection equipment are in research and development phase and are commercially not easily available. The few equipment available in the global market are expensive. The complex molecular system of biological agents makes it difficult to identify them compared to chemical agents which again restricts the growth of the biological detection equipment market across the globe. Biological detection systems are complex devices comprising several sub units due to the need for high sensitivity and selectivity. Furthermore, most companies are in the development stages of technological maturity having very limited manufacturing scale capabilities.
Investment in research and development is likely to be one of the major opportunities in the global market for biological detection equipment. New innovations in existing technology will enhance the ability of the equipment’s detection power which will help in identifying biological agents more accurately. The research and development is aimed at enhancements in biological detection, ideally moving toward a detect-to-warn capability. It is also focused on integrating components into a single rugged system which optimizes power and retains modularity to support upgrades.
The biological detection equipment market is bifurcated on the basis of technology into point detection technologies, standoff technologies, and passive standoff technologies. On the basis of components, the market is bifurcated into trigger, collector, detector, and identifier. The geographic bifurcation comprises North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. Key countries in the biological detection equipment market includes the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany.
Some of the key market leaders of the biological detection equipment market are Antech, Argon Electronics, 3M Detection Solutions, Environics, Smiths Detection Group Ltd., Qiagen, Agilent Technologies Inc, Bruker Corp, Remedios Ltd., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., PROENGIN SA, Bioquell PLC, FLIR Systems Inc., Morphix Technologies Inc., BioFire Diagnostics, Inc.. Avon Protection Systems. Inc., and Mirion Technologies, Inc. among others