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OSU prof working on nerve gas drug in partnership with Ohio Supercomputer Center

Christopher Hadad, a chemistry professor at The Ohio State University, is developing a drug that could ease the effects of a frightening world threat: a deadly chemical nerve agent attack.

Such an event is rare, but not just theoretical. One of the most memorable is a 1995 sarin gas release on Japanese subway lines that killed a dozen people and sent more than 6,000 to hospitals. These poisons can be released deliberately or by accident and have the potential to kill and severely injure thousands of unsuspecting people.

Hadad is working on a therapeutic remedy to the effects of certain nerve agents which, left untreated, cause uncontrolled secretions from the mouth, eyes and nose as well as severe muscle spasms that could lead to a quick death. This work, which is its early stages, is in partnership with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

"We are developing a therapeutic for someone who's been exposed to a nasty chemical agent that creates biological aging effects that could lead to death," says Hadad, who has been working on the project for about a year.

Hadad's work relates to common organophosphorus (OP) nerve agents Tabun, VX, VR, Sarin, Soman, Cyclosarin and Paraoxon. There are treatments that can be used for these agents today, but they don't always work because of the short time frame required for effective treatment.

Using the Ohio Supercomputer Center resources in Columbus, Hadad is working on a molecular fix that could make treatment more effective.

"We are using a computational chemistry approach which could lead to rapid development of a good, viable drug that has the best chance of success and efficacy," he said.

Source: Christopher Hadad, Ohio State University
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

You can follow Feoshia on Twitter @feoshiawrites

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