Nuclear, biological, and chemical combined injuries and countermeasures on the battlefield.Mil Med 2002; 167(2 Suppl):95-7MM
The Armed Forces Radiobiological Research Institute (AFRRI) has developed a research program to determine the major health risks from exposure to ionizing radiation in combination with biological and chemical warfare agents and to assess the extent to which exposure to ionizing radiation compromises the effectiveness of protective drugs, vaccines, and other biological and chemical warfare prophylactic and treatment strategies. AFRRI's Defense Technology Objective MD22 supports the development of treatment modalities and studies to assess the mortality rates for combined injuries from exposure to ionizing radiation and Bacillus anthracis, and research to provide data for casualty prediction models that assess the health consequences of combined exposures. In conjunction with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, our research data are contributing to the development of casualty prediction models that estimate mortality and incapacitation in an environment of radiation exposure plus other weapons of mass destruction. Specifically, the AFFRI research program assesses the effects of ionizing radiation exposure in combination with B. anthracis, Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus, Shigella sonnei, nerve agents, and mustard as well as their associated treatments and vaccines. In addition, the long-term psychological effects of radiation combined with nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) injuries are being evaluated. We are also assessing the effectiveness of gamma photons and high-speed neutrons and electrons for neutralizing biological and chemical warfare agents. New protocols based on our NBC bioeffects experiments will enable U.S. armed forces to accomplish military operations in NBC environments while optimizing both survival and military performance. Preserving combatants' health in an NBC environment will improve warfighting operations and mission capabilities.