Scientists Close In on Antidote to Neurotoxin

Cure would block feared bioweapon that causes paralysis
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2008 6:11 PM CDT
Crystal structure of Botulinum Neurotoxin Serotype A, one of the most potent biological weapons. Scientists are closer to finding an antidote.   (Protein Data Bank)
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(Newser) – Scientists are one step closer to developing an antidote to botulinum, a potentially devastating biological weapon, the BBC reports. Terrorists have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to deploy the neurotoxin, which is also the culprit in botulism and the secret behind Botox. A botulinum vaccine already exists, but the new drug could eventually be used after exposure.

"We anticipate at least four to five years before this can be turned into an approved drug," says the leader of the US research team. But hopes are high for this antidote, which is "about 10 to 15 times better than the best one available so far."