Fighting Nerve Gas: Would Use Milk of Transgenic Animals - National Post
Shares in Nexia Biotechnologies were cited as jumping 20 per cent yesterday after the company announced it and its transgenic goats will collaborate with the Canadian military to fight chemical weapons of mass destruction.
The story says that Dorion-based firm has signed an agreement with Defence R&D Canada-Suffield in Alberta to test Protexia, Nexia's re-engineered protein. In non-scientific terms, the company and military want to get rid of gas masks and rubber suits and come up with an injection that will nullify the effects of nerve agents, including deadly sarin gas, which was used in a terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.
However, their research won't help the troops now fighting in Iraq. Assuming all goes well, their product would not be ready until 2006.
Nexia founder Jeff Turner was cited as saying that Protexia is a recombinant version of butyrycholinesterace, or BChE, which is found naturally in small quantities in animal and human blood. Over the centuries, animals and humans have managed to eat toxic substances, he said, and the body produced BChE in defence. However, the quantity found naturally in human blood "is quickly overrun by a nerve-agent challenge." So Nexia and Suffield are going to see if Protexia can boost the amount of BChE in the body.