Nuclear attack? Pop DRDO herbal pills
By Express News Service - BANGALORE
Published: 01st Jul 2012 08:49:25 AM
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) claims to have produced herbal capsules to protect you during a nuclear attack. They are made of extracts from two plants (Podophyllium hexandrum and Hippophae rhamnoides) found in the central Himalayas.
In an interview with The Sunday Standard, William Selvamurthy, DRDO’s Chief Controller and Life Sciences Head, said the wonder drug is part of a Rs 285-crore project sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 2009. “We have completed pre-clinical trials on rodents at the Delhi-based Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences. The clinical trials will now be done by the Drugs Controller General of India,” Selvamurthy said. Developed as part of DRDO’s Nuclear-Biological- Chemical (NBC) Defence Technology project, the capsules will be available for use in the next one-year—presumably, provided a nuke attack is imminent. “We will make the capsules available for the quick reaction teams (QRTs), which will be pressed into service first during nuclear attacks or leaks. Next to benefit will be cancer patients exposed to radiotherapy, and finally those living in areas with a high-level radioactive presence,” Selvamurthy said. When consumed, the capsules act as decorporating agents, reducing health risks in case a person comes in contact with nuclear substances. According to him, the Indian Armed Forces have already begun the process of the acquisition of NBC equipment worth `3,000 crore in the next five years. “Most of this is made in India, a strong pointer towards the inroads we made in developing life-saving devices,” Selvamurthy said.
To counter chemical warfare threats, DRDO claims its scientists have developed auto-jet injectors, which can deliver ‘atropine sulphate’ and ‘palm chloride’ for treatment of those affected by nerve agents.
Many of DRDO’s projects have been controversial. The prime example is the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, started in 2001 at a cost of `5,780 crore to replace MiG-21 fighters, and which is now supposed to get operational clearance only in 2013, a full 12 years after being commissioned.