Army’s $156.6M Contract to Develop Anti-Nerve Gas Agent
A massive $156.6 million contract has been awarded by the U.S. Army to the DynPort Vaccine division of Computer Sciences Corp to develop an anti-nerve gas agent.
The agent, which must be able to protect against a range of chemicals for up to 60 days, will not ready for usage for at least six years.
The award comes amid accusations that both the Syrian army and rebels have used nerve gas, along with warnings by President Obama that use of chemical weapons by the Assad government would be crossing a "red line."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies nerve agents as the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents.
According to Nextgov.com, DynPort will develop and then obtain Food and Drug Administration approval for the "Bioscavenger" nerve gas prophylaxis.
The gas binds the nerve agent in the blood stream before it can exert effects in the nervous system.
The U.S. military currently uses atropine as an anti-nerve gas agent, but that can lead to temporary incapacitation.
Maj. Luis Alvarez, of the Medical Identification and Treatment Systems agency, said: "Bioscavenger is the "first ever nerve agent prophylactc that prevents incapacitation and death from exposure to a broad spectrum of nerve agents."
He added that the agent will have to be tested on "hundreds to thousands" of human volunteers before it can win FDA approval.
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