New Antidote Could Cure Ricin Poisoning

By Jose Paolo Calcetas , Feb 11, 2017 01:46 AM EST

A cocktail of antibodies being developed by experts may become the “life savior” of victims with very little chance of survival. This is according to a study conducted by the American Society for Microbiology’s Biothreats meeting. In an experiment, mice who were treated with antidote showed higher rates of survival even days after being exposed to ricin. Furthermore, the study also offers a potential explanation on how an antidote can serve as a cure.

According to University of Central Florida’s cell biologist Patrick Cherubin, it is about high time for doctors to find methods on how to deal with ricin poisoning. Cherubin’s challenge was supported by another immunologist Nicholas Mantis. He said that there are no specific treatment or therapy available for those poisoned with ricin.

Ricin is one of the most dangerous toxins and bioterrorism agent. Prior to the study, it has no known antidote which can cause death within a few days. It has also been used by an assassin in a poisoned umbrella and placed in a letter to the president. In 2013, envelopes contaminated with ricin have been sent to the White House as a form of a terror attack.

Science News reported that ricin is found in castor beans, which gives it an innocuous origin. The poison is very dangerous and can spread easily. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified ricin as category B bioterrorism agent. This means that it is just behind the highest-risk category A agents such as anthrax, plague, and Ebola.

eMedicine Health added that ricin can be utilized as a biological warfare agent or as a weapon of mass destruction. There are no general symptoms for persons poisoned with ricin because it will depend on whether he ingested, inhaled or ate, drank or got injected by a food or medicine contaminated with the agent. Immediate medical help is urged for persons suspected to have been poisoned with ricin.

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