Researchers at the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design and Minneapolis VA Medical Center have discovered a fast-acting antidote to cyanide poisoning that can potentially save the lives of firefighters, industrial workers, and others exposed to the chemical.

Developed by Steven Patterson, principal investigator and associate director at the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design, the antidote works in less than three minutes to meet the United States Department of Defense's "three-minute solution" standard. Current cyanide antidotes work more slowly and are ineffective when administered after a certain point.

The antidote can be taken orally, unlike current antidotes that must be taken intravenously. It was shown to be exceptionally effective when tested on animals, and is expected to be used in human clinical trials over the next three years.

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