ANTI-NUCLEAR MEDICINE KIT:
In a major shot in the arm for paramilitary and police forces, scientists at a central research institute claim to have developed India’s first indigenous medical kit that may ensure protection from serious injuries and faster healing of wounds resulting from nuclear warfare or radioactive leakage.
The kit, developed after two decades of work by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in New Delhi, has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90 per cent protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments.
According to INMAS, the kit has been developed for the armed, paramilitary and police forces only as they are the first ones likely to get exposed to radiation — be it during nuclear, chemical and biomedical (NCB) warfare or a rescue operation after a nuclear accident.
Developed in India for the first time, it’s a potent alternative to similar kits that were till now being procured from strategically advanced nations such as the US and Russia at much higher prices.
The contents include
PRUSSIAN BLUE TABLETS : These advanced form of Prussian blue tablets are highly effective in incorporating Radio Cesium (Cs-137) and Radio Thallium, among the most feared radioisotopes in nuclear bombs that destroy human body cells.
The tablet provides 100 per cent absorption from the gut and other portals of entry to the human body.
The kit also has an Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) injection that traps uranium in the guts and blood of victims during a nuclear accident or warfare.
The kit also has Ca-EDTA Respiratory Fluid, which is the inhalation formula for chelation, or grabbing, of heavy metals and radioactive elements deposited in lungs through inhalation at nuclear accident sites.
When EDTA is injected into the veins, it “grabs” heavy metals and minerals and removes them from the body.
The medicine reduces the body burden of radioactivity by 30-40 per cent in controlled conditions and is highly useful for the rescue teams and victims after a nuclear accident.
During radioactive accidents, he explained, thousands of patients may be rushed to hospitals. In several cases, if not most, they will also have traumatic, orthopaedic, surgical injuries or burns.
The blood of such patients will have radioactive elements and will require wound dressing with significantly higher absorption capacity so that nothing leaks and infects others.
Such highly absorptive dressings and gauze also make it safer for the medical staff to handle radioactive patients as the chance of their own contamination is reduced.
The kit also has a radioactive urine/biofluid collector which is cost-effective, easy to store and can safely dispose of the urine of a person affected by radiation.
Bhatnagar explained that the collector has silk at its base, more than enough to jellify 500 millilitre of urine, which could be disposed of safely.
The kit has anti-gamma ray skin ointment that protects and heals the radiation damage on the skin.
Also part of the kit is the amifostine injection, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved conventional radiopharmaceutical that limits damage from gamma radiation.
Another medicine in the form of a tablet is Indranil 150 mg. It is being introduced as a reserve emergency drug for services, rescue workers and places where high acute exposures are expected and lives will be at stake.
While INSAS gets set to ramp up production of the kits for the security forces, doctors at AIIMS feel the kits can be made available to civilians at a later stage.
“Such medicines will help everyone and not just soldiers. This will also help the victims affected in terrorist attacks”, Rajesh Malhotra, head of Trauma Centre at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said, adding that the kits will benefit civilians in case of a nuclear accident.
INSTITUTE OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE & ALLIED SCIENCES (INMAS)
INMAS is laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It was established in 1961 and is located in New Delhi.
It is involved in nuclear medicine research and responding to nuclear accidents and explosions.
Since 1968, Department of Nuclear Medicine in INMAS is offering two-year diploma in radiation medicine. It is first formal training program in nuclear medicine in the world.