US stocks $300 million worth of radiation sickness drugs but claims it has nothing to do with Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats
- US government makes its first purchase of Nplate for ‘nuclear emergencies’
- The drug treats radiation sickness by stopping life-threatening bleeding
- Putin’s nuclear warning failed to boost purchase, government said
The US has been stockpiling radiation sickness drugs just weeks after Vladimir Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons against the West.
Officials said the deal — valued at $290 million — was “part of ongoing work” and “has not been accelerated” by the Kremlin’s leader’s escalating rhetoric.
The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) — whose motto is to “improve America’s health, safety and well-being — announced its purchase of romiplostim on Tuesday.
It is sold under the brand name Nplate and is used to reduce bleeding caused by acute radiation syndrome (ARS), also known as radiation sickness.
Late last month, Putin issued a chilling warning that he was willing to use Russia’s nuclear arsenal to protect Ukrainian territory annexed after mock referendums.
But the US Health and Human Services (HHS) said the drug order was “part of ongoing work” and “not accelerated” by Putin’s warning.
However, the timing is likely to raise questions as this is the first time the US government has purchased Nplate.
US government began stockpiling anti-radiation drug Nplate after Vladimir Putin threatened to bomb the West over Ukraine
What is Radiation Sickness?
ARS, commonly known as radiation sickness, is an illness that can occur when a person is exposed to high levels of radiation, usually for a short period of time.
The first symptoms of ARS are nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea.
But the way radiation affects our bodies is not fully understood.
Symptoms can start within minutes to days of exposure, can last minutes to several days, and can come and go.
After the initial symptoms, a person usually looks and feels healthy for a period of time, but is likely to develop further symptoms of varying degrees of severity depending on the dose.
These symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and possibly even seizures and coma.
This seriously ill phase can last from a few hours to several months.
Absorbing high doses of radiation can also dramatically increase the chances of developing cancer and other chronic diseases years later.
In addition to the two workers killed instantly in the first Chernobyl explosion in 1986, a total of 134 factory workers and first responders were affected by ARS in the days following the accident, 28 of whom died.
Radiation sickness occurs when a person’s entire body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation, which reaches the internal organs within seconds.
It can leave people with low platelet counts, leading to impaired blood clotting and leading to ‘uncontrolled and life-threatening bleeding’.
Nplate – made by the California pharmaceutical company Amgen – stops bleeding by stimulating the body’s production of platelets and can be used in both adults and children.
It can also be used to treat patients with immune thrombocytopenia, a blood disorder that causes low platelet counts.
The HHS said the purchase of the drug was due to its “long-term, ongoing efforts to be better prepared to save lives after radiological and nuclear emergencies” and not a response to the Russian president.
“This is part of our ongoing work for preparedness and radiological safety. It has not been accelerated by the situation in Ukraine,” it added in a statement.
The US has held a stockpile of Leukine, another drug that treats ARS, since 2013.
In addition to Leukine and Nplate, two other drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of acute radiation exposure: Amgen’s Neupogen and Neulasta.
Nplate is approved for use in Europe and the UK for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia, but not for radiation exposure injuries.
Putin also ordered the mobilization of 300,000 military reserves – a first in Russia since World War II – and launched referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine that would make them part of Russia, in the eyes of the Kremlin. least.
In a televised statement on Sept. 21, he vowed to use “all means” to defend the regions, saying: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff… I will emphasize – by all means at our disposal.
“Those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the tables can turn against them.”
Putin’s move came after Ukraine put much of the Russian military on the run in September, leaving him in a corner of his own making, facing the potential collapse of his so-called “special military operation.”
But rather than backtrack, the Russian leader chose to double down and hold the free world to pay ransom — putting Russia and its vast nuclear arsenal on a direct collision course with Ukraine and its allies, who have already sworn the results of ‘fake’ referendums or to stop the liberation of occupied territory.