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March 18, 1961


JAMA. 1961;175(11):1003. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040110067018

There is no practical method of protecting the people from initial irradiation and massive radioactive fallout produced by a nuclear blast. The underground shelters currently available or planned would protect only a fraction of the nation's population. Infusions of bone marrow following irradiation may be life saving but this procedure will not be feasible until the problem of rejection is solved.

Another avenue of investigation is a chemical means of protection for at least a portion of the population irradiated in a disaster. Certain sulfhydryl-containing compounds have shown considerable promise and are currently under study by the Department of Defense. There are indications that compounds of this type may offer partial protection, possibly even doubling tolerance. Initial studies were reported by Patt and co-workers, in 1949,1 and Bacq and Herve, in 1953.2

In the current issue of The Journal (page 941), is a communication by Knox and associates

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