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Hope For An Injectable Antidote Suitable For Treatment Of Cyanide Victims In A Mass Casualty Setting

In an advance toward closing a major gap in defenses against terrorist attacks and other , scientists are reporting discovery of a promising that could be the basis for of a better for cyanide poisoning. Their report, which describes a potential that could be self-administered, much like the medication delivered by allergy injection pens, appears in ACS’ .

Steven E. Patterson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design explain that the only existing antidotes for cyanide – recognized as a high-risk substance for potential use by terrorists – must be administered by intravenous infusion. That procedure requires highly trained paramedical personnel and takes time. Cyanide, however, is a fast-acting poison. In a situation involving mass casualties, only a limited number of victims could be saved. Patterson’s team thus sought an antidote that could be administered by intra-muscular (IM) injection, a simpler procedure that could be administered rapidly to a large number of victims or even be self-administered.

Their report describes discovery of a substance, sulfanegen TEA, “which should be amenable for development as an IM injectable antidote suitable for treatment of cyanide victims in a setting. Further development, including efficacy in lethal cyanide animal models, will be reported at a later date.”


The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (award #UO1NS058087-05).
American Chemical Society