‘Nanoscavengers’ could protect people from sarin gas, other nerve agents
Current antidotes [for nerve agents like sarin] must be given as soon as possible, and although they can help mitigate the symptoms of poisoning, they don’t act directly on nerve agents. As a result, researchers have been trying to develop prophylactic “scavenging” molecules capable of seeking out and degrading nerve agents in the body upon exposure. In the current study, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle tried a new tack.…“Previous bio-scavengers haven’t remained in the body long enough to confer protection, or they’ve sparked the body’s immune system to neutralize the antidote with antibodies”, notes Jin Montclare, a protein engineer at New York University [Tandon School of Engineering] in New York City, who was not involved with the study. “The new work appears to circumvent both of these concerns”, she says.