Toxic effects of chlorine gas and potential treatments: a literature review.
Chlorine gas is one of the highly produced chemicals in the USA and around the world. Chlorine gas has several uses in water purification, sanitation, and industrial applications; however, it is a toxic inhalation hazard agent. Inhalation of chlorine gas, based on the concentration and duration of the exposure, causes a spectrum of symptoms, including but not limited to lacrimation, rhinorrhea, bronchospasm, cough, dyspnea, acute lung injury, death, and survivors develop signs of pulmonary fibrosis and reactive airway disease. Despite the use of chlorine gas as a chemical warfare agent since World War I and its known potential as an industrial hazard, there is no specific antidote. The resurgence of the use of chlorine gas as a chemical warfare agent in recent years has brought speculation of its use as weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, developing antidotes for chlorine gas-induced lung injuries remains the need of the hour. While some of the pre-clinical studies have made substantial progress in the understanding of chlorine gas-induced pulmonary pathophysiology and identifying potential medical countermeasure(s), yet none of the drug candidates are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this review, we summarized pathophysiology of chlorine gas-induced pulmonary injuries, pre-clinical animal models, development of a pipeline of potential medical countermeasures under FDA animal rule, and future directions for the development of antidotes for chlorine gas-induced lung injuries.
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