02 January 2019
Vol 11, Issue 473

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Up and Away. Pictured here is a plane spraying crops with a pesticide. Organophosphates (OP) are neurotoxic compounds found in pesticides and chemical warfare agents that act by irreversibly inhibiting acetylcholinesterase in neuromuscular synapses. Exposure to high OP doses causes neuromuscular paralysis and death by asphyxiation. Zhang et al. developed a nanoparticle-based OP bioscavenger (nanoscavenger) that provided long-term prophylactic protection against OP poisoning in rodents. A single administration protected the animals for one week after repeated exposure to a warfare agent or pesticide. This suggests that nanoscavengers could help to protect against the toxic effects of OP poisoning in people at risk of exposure. [CREDIT: BRIAN BROWN/ISTOCKPHOTO]