Italians say they've discovered nerve gas antibody

'Has implications in Syria, war zones'

(ANSA) - Pisa, May 6 - Researchers in Italy said Tuesday they have discovered an antibody that can fight nerve gas. The antibody also blocks strong pesticides that often harm animals, said scientists at the University of Pisa, who published their study in the international magazine Mabs.
    "(Nerve gas) blocks synaptic acetylcholinesterase, which is an enzyme that regulates the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the human body and of many animals," said pharmacologist Paola Nieri. "The effect has serious consequences on cardiac and respiratory failure, and can be fatal". Other antidotes work as scavengers, said Nieri, cleaning up toxic agents without restoring the acetylcholinesterase activity when the enzymatic block becomes irreversible.
    The researchers say their study has potential implications in war zones such as Syria, where chemical weapons like sarin gas may be at play.


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