University of Minnesota researchers say they have discovered a new fast-acting antidote to cyanide poisoning. The antidote works in less than three minutes when given to laboratory mice exposed to the toxin.
Principal investigator Steven Patterson says the new compound still needs to be tested in humans. However, he thinks it will work just as well in people, because the antidote takes advantage of the natural processes that humans have to detoxify small amounts of cyanide in foods.
"Pitted fruits and then some grasses contain compounds that can release cyanide, and in fact do release cyanide. And so we have these natural mechanisms to deal with that. And so our antidotes make use of these natural mechanisms to detoxify the cyanide," says Patterson.
Patterson hopes to launch a human study of the cyanide antidote within the next three years.
His current animal study is being funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.