Novichok nerve agent detection Novichok nerve agent identification in MX908 CW Hunter mission mode. (908 Devices photo)

Chemical Detection Device Capabilities Expanded to Spot Novichok Nerve Agent

908 Devices, a pioneer of analytical devices for chemical and biomolecular analysis, today announced the expansion of their MX908 multi-mission trace chemical detection device capabilities to include Novichok agents, an emerging chemical warfare threat. The company is debuting this enhancement in the MX908 CW Hunter mission mode at the 2019 International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) International Hazardous Materials Response Teams conference in Baltimore June 13-16.

Following a 2018 UK attack, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new guidance in January to first responders nationwide for Novichok chemical warfare agents (CWAs), also known as A-series agents or Fourth Generation Agents (FGAs). Novichok agents are more persistent than other nerve agents and can be as toxic as VX. HazMat and military chemical response teams need quick, confident answers in the event of an attack to minimize casualties and limit the spread of contamination. Until now, response personnel have had limited capability to detect and identify Novichoks in the field. The MX908 is the only commercially available field device that can identify Novichoks at trace levels and deliver results within 60 seconds, expediting response times and increasing both public and responder safety.

“First responders must be equipped with tools that can adapt to novel threats as they arise,” said Dr. Kevin J. Knopp, CEO and Co-founder of 908 Devices. “We proactively designed the MX908 to address the continuum of emerging threats. A simple, immediately downloadable software update arms federal, military and civilian response teams for the ever-evolving threat landscape.”

In addition to Novichok detection capability, the 2.1 software release also adds new V-series agents to the MX908 CW Hunter mission mode. The MX908 can now identify seven V-series agents, HD, and several G-series agents. The 2.1 update also includes performance enhancements for CW Hunter and Explosives Hunter mission modes, and new targets in the Drug Hunter mission mode.

The software will be available in July for existing MX908 customers.

908 Devices is host to two workshops at the IAFC conference, ‘Outclassing Emerging Threats’ and ‘Field Identification of Controlled Substances’. Both focus on how first responders can best equip themselves to detect both known and potential threats, including fentanyl and FGAs. 908 Devices and leading detection technology and HazMat experts – including Dr. Christina Baxter of Emergency Response TIPS, LLC, David DiGregorio, the Director of Mass State Hazmat, Dr. Mike Weibel, the Assistant Project Manager of S&T JPM NBC Contamination Avoidance, and others – will also take part in a panel discussion on the emerging threat of Fourth Generation Agents and pharmaceutical-based agents, challenges in detection, and how teams need to rethink the way they respond.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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