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PharmAthene nerve agent blocker tested

PharmAthene Inc., of Annapolis, a biodefense company developing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical threats, announced that the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense has completed initial in vitro testing of the company’s recombinant butyrylcholinesterase (rBChE) bioscavenger.

Initial tests demonstrate that rBChE successfully targets and binds to a broad spectrum of nerve agents, including sarin and tabun, which are believed to be part of the Syrian chemical weapons inventory.

A naturally occurring protein found in minute quantities in blood, butyrylcholinesterase functions as a natural bioscavenger to absorb toxins such as nerve agent compounds and certain pesticides, before they cause irreversible neurological damage.