New cyanide antidote could prevent mass casualty situation

Scientists at the University of Minnesota's Center for Drug Design recently developed a new antidote to the chemical agent cyanide that could save lives in case of an attack with the deadly gas.

Current treatments for cyanide must be administered by intravenous infusion, a time-intensive procedure that requires highly trained paramedical personnel. If the gas were to be released in a crowded area, the lack of treatment options could lead to a mass casualty situation, reports.

"There is no effective cyanide antidote that can be administered rapidly," Steve Patterson, the co-inventor of sulfanegen TEA, said, according to "In the case of a mass casualty situation, the emergency responders wouldn't be able to treat most of the victims."

Sulfanegen TEA is a new cyanide treatment that can be administered via intra-muscular injection allowing for much faster treatment. The alternative antidote could even be self-administered like an allergy injection pen.

Vytacera, a new startup, will produce the new drug, pending approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"We intend to move forward as rapidly as financing and regulations permit," Jon Saxe, the chairman of Vytacera, said, according to "Our goal is to make this important advance available to those in need of it and to enable governments to be better prepared, which, ultimately, may help deter terrorism."

Patterson detailed the development of sulfanegen in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, reports.