Research ArticleDrug Development

Nanoscavenger provides long-term prophylactic protection against nerve agents in rodents

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Jan 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 473, eaau7091
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau7091

A long-lasting poison scavenger

Nerve agents are neurotoxic compounds found in pesticides and chemical weapons. They act by blocking the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. After exposure, fatal consequences occur within minutes. Now, Zhang et al. report the development of a nanoparticle-based bioscavenger (nanoscavenger) that breaks down organophosphate nerve agents into innocuous compounds. Prophylactic treatment of rats and guinea pigs with this nanoscavenger revealed its low immunogenicity and good biodistribution. Treated animals were protected from repeated exposure to the nerve agent sarin over 7 days, suggesting that this nanoscavenger might be an effective prophylactic treatment for preventing nerve agent poisoning in subjects at risk.

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