A sign of the times? First human drug trial in US for a pill that reverses nuclear radiation poisoning
The first human trial of a pill to reverse nuclear radiation poisoning has been launched in the United States.
In the trial, 42 participants will receive the drug — named HOPO 14-1 — as an oral pill in Plymouth, Michigan, and then be monitored to see how well it is absorbed and removed from the body.
If the trial is successful, the treatment could become available by 2024, according to the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is funding the research.
News of the trial comes amid heightened fears about nuclear war as Russia continues to issue threats about using nukes as it continues its war in Ukraine.
The trial is set to take place in Plymouth, Michigan, and involves 42 participants aged 18 to 65 years old (stock picture)
Air defence missiles are seen impacting targets over Kyiv on Monday night. It was unclear whether these were the hypersonic ‘Kinzhal’ missiles, although Ukraine said it had downed six over the capital
President Putin repeatedly threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the early days of the war, while his supporters have called for nukes to be used to obliterate US allies such as the United Kingdom.
Kevin Ryan, the former chief of staff for the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, warned today that bringing down Putin’s ‘unstoppable’ missiles made him more likely to turn to the nuclear option.
‘If he cannot force a victory with conventional weapons, he will probably turn to nuclear weapons,’ he told DailyMail.com’s sister publication in the UK.
Nuclear bombs or leaks from accidents at nuclear power plants can lead to dangerous heavy metals leaching into the atmosphere.
These can then be absorbed by humans via broken skin, breathing and eating contaminated food and cause damage to DNA, tissues and organs in the body, raising the risk of diseases, including cancer.
One of the ways to reduce this damage is to use a drug that binds to heavy metals to remove them from the body as quickly as possible.
Two treatments of this type — which use the drug DPTA — are already available in the US, but they must be administered intravenously and target only three heavy metals — which are plutonium, americium and curium.
They can also bind to and remove essential ions from the body such as magnesium, which is used to help muscles move.
But scientists say the new treatment — which has been in development since 2006 — is up to 100 times more effective at binding to and removing heavy metals from the body.
It also binds to many more than the standard three and is administered via an oral tablet, making it much easier to deploy during an emergency.
In the phase one clinical trials, which are carried out to test the safety of a drug, participants will be split into seven groups each containing six participants.
The first group will receive a 100-milligram (mg) dose of HOPO 14-1, with doses then raised up to 7,500mg in the final group.
If a lower dose is deemed safe, then a group will also receive doses below 100mg.
After receiving the drug, participants will be monitored for up to 14 days to measure how well it is absorbed, distributed and removed from the body.
If successful, the drug will progress into stage two and three clinical trials — which will test whether the treatment is effective and better than other currently available medications.
It could be available for the public by 2024, says NIAID.