While the U.S. is relieved to be winning the Iraq war, we’re all quaking at the thought of possible terrorist retaliation. Now scientists have created a drug called HE2100 that can protect people from the effects of a nuclear attack. Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals says it will protect most people outside the immediate area of where the bomb hits.

High levels of radiation destroy white blood cells, which protect the body against infection. Death can also be caused by bleeding, since radiation also destroys the ability of blood clots to form. HE2100 helps the body to produce white blood cells much more quickly than normal. After further tests, the company will apply to the FDA for permission to sell the drug.

The U.S. has agreed to pay companies as much as $6 billion over the next few years as part of a program to speed up the development of drugs that can fight bioterrorism attacks. Bob Marsella, of Hollis Eden, says HE2100 costs between $50 and $75 per course of treatment and it can be stockpiled.

Professor Paul Wilkinson, of the Center for Terrorism Studies in the U.K., says, “It would not be a panacea. There would be people in the immediate area of a blast who would be exposed to such a high level of radiation that no medical intervention could save them. But there are people in the outer circle who may well benefit from this drug if it proves to be effective in further tests.”

No matter what happens, let’s all remember: There?s no such thing as doomsday.

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