Light Cycler PCR machine on display at The Science Museum, London, 2003.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This is the first commercially available test kit for the SARS coronavirus. Scientists use it to detect parts of the virus's genetic material. This method can be used sooner than other tests because, it looks for the virus itself instead of the body's response. Early detection may be the only way to halt the spread of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The kit provides ready-to-use ingredients for scientists to use in PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machines like this one, which are already available in hospital laboratories. The machine bulks up the suspect sample so that scientists can see what they are dealing with. On display at the ground floor of the Wellcome Wing.