By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Herbal capsules to keep you safe during nuclear attacks. Might sound strange, but Indian life sciences scientists have made inroads in making this a reality. These radioprotectors could safeguard you against Gamma radiation during nuclear attacks, explosion or leaks. Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the herbal capsules are made out of extracts from two plants (podophyllium hexandrum and hippophae rhamnoides) found in central Himalayas.
In an interview to Express, William Selvamurthi, DRDO's Chief Controller and life sciences head said that the wonder drug is part of a Rs 285 crore-project sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 2009. “We have completed the pre-clinical trials of the radioprotectors on rodents (mice and rats) at Delhi-based Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences. The clinical trials will now be done by Drugs Controller General of India,” Selvamurthi said.
Developed as part of DRDO's Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) Defence Technology project, the capsules will be available for use in the next one year. “We will make the capsules available for the quick reaction teams (QRTs), who will be pressed into service first during nuclear attacks or leaks. Cancer patients exposed to radiotherapy will benefit next and finally those living in areas with high-level radio-active presence,” Selvamurthi said.
When consumed, the herbal capsules act as de-corporating agents, reducing the risks in case a person came in contact with nuke substances. “We are to complete the NBC project in 2014, which has 12 deliverables and 24 science and technology projects leading to deliverables. We are on track,” he said. According to him, Indian armed forces have already began the process of acquisition of NBC equipment worth Rs 3,000 crore in the next five years. “Most of these equipment and technologies are made in India, a strong pointer towards the inroads we made in developing life-saving devices,” Selvamurthi said.
To counter chemical warfare threats, the scientists have also developed auto-jet injectors, which can deliver 'atropine sulphate' and 'palm chloride' for the treatment of nerve agents. “Sulfur mustard and nitrogen mustard are blister-causing agents. We have developed the first anti-dote that works against these agents. Blisters can reduce the fluids in the body significantly,” he said. The scientists have also developed nano-particles in decontamination solution in the event of NBC attack.
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)