US firm Integrated Nano-Technologies (INT) is completing the development of a DNA-based system to test for the presence of biological pathogens, including Sars, anthrax and smallpox.
INT said that its BioDetect system will be much faster than current laboratory testing methods as it can return results in less than 30 minutes.
The device is small enough to be carried for use outdoors or installed in air circulation systems.
"Traditional biological agent detection systems involve sending samples to laboratories, where they undergo a complex testing process that can take up to 24 hours," said Michael Connolly, chief executive at INT.
"The BioDetect system will generate results in the field substantially faster and with greater accuracy than any existing system or test."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago