Organophosphorus nerve agents (OP) are highly toxic for human beings and are unfortunately used as chemical warfare agents and pesticides. Considering the serious threat that they represent to the worldwide security and health, much efforts have been devoted to the development of sensitive and selective devices for their detection. Nowadays, none of the developed strategies have led to a detection system that is at the same time sensitive, fast, wearable, robust, reliable, universal and visual. The DetectOP-BChE project aims at developing such a system by designing a warning detection system towards OP and an advanced tool to identify the nature of OP responsible for the alert. The two systems are complementary and will be devised as a single one device. The strategy is based on the highly sensitive, visual and simply operational fluorescent/colorimetric detection approach associated with the characteristics of cholinesterases as excellent, fast and selective biomarkers of OP exposure. This novel OP-detection approach will dramatically decrease the false positive alerts, thus enhancing the reliability of the system, and should allow to reach low detection limits. The DetectOP-BChE devices will be suitable to the French and International Armed Forces for the protection of their military troops as well as for the protection of first rescuers and surrounding civilians in the context of the perverted use of OP in armed conflicts and terrorist attacks. OP being also used as pesticides, the DetectOP-BChE devices will be applicable to the protection of researchers and staff of the chemical industry as well as farmers.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Anthony Romieu