Researchers have found a substance which can neutralize the organophosphate used in pesticide and chemical weapons such as Sarin (gas). They could ultimately help save both military and civilian lives. Results of their work are published in the journal ChemBioChem.
Organophosphates in the brain are connected with neurotransmitters – transmitters of nerve signals. In high doses, they can cause serious damage to the brain, and in low – Sustainable cognitive impairment.
It comes to protein, ferment, called fosfotriesteraza. Its ability to breaks down organophosphates is well known, but still this protein was not used for medical purposes.
Fosfotriesterazata has a drawback – it is unstable at high temperature. Chemists have decided to correct this. They synthesize slightly modified product protein which is stabilized without losing its main features – effectively to breaks down organophosphates. For the design of new protein molecules have been used computer simulations.
„In continued work we hope to incorporate the protective compounds onto surfaces or fabrics and explore their function,“ Nyman said (an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry in the OSU College of Science) „They could form the basis for an improved type of gas mask or other protection. We would also need to test the material’s ability to withstand very arid environments, extreme heat or other conditions.“
A goal will be materials that are durable, high performing and retain a high level of protection against nerve agents such as sarin and soman gas even in harsh environmental conditions, researchers said.