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Carbon Monoxide Antidote

December 14, 2016

Researchers develop the first fast-acting antidote for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Transcript

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A fast-acting antidote for carbon monoxide poisoning could help emergency personnel save lives during emergencies. (Pixabay.com/Public Domain)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Outsmarting carbon monoxide. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Despite sickening over 50,000 people in the U.S. every year and sometimes causing brain damage or even death, there’s still no fast-acting antidote for carbon monoxide poisoning. Now, University of Pittsburgh researchers hope to change that. Vascular biologist Mark Gladwin says carbon monoxide binds to the blood protein hemoglobin in place of oxygen.

MARK GLADWIN (University of Pittsburgh):

And that CO will block the ability of your hemoglobin to carry oxygen to your body.

HIRSHON:

But Gladwin’s team reports in Science Translational Medicine that they’ve genetically engineered a variant of a protein called neuroglobin that quickly binds to carbon monoxide, rendering it harmless in animal tests.

GLADWIN:

The CO rapidly cleared from the blood onto the neuroglobin.

HIRSHON:

Gladwin hopes the antidote could one day be deployed by emergency personnel to save countless lives. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard