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Activity title

Medical Chemical Defence against Chemical Warfare Agent Threats

Activity Reference



Human Factors and Medicine

Security Classification



Awaiting Publication

Activity type


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CBRN, Chemical Warfare Defence, Medical Countermeasures


Chemical warfare (CW) agents present a significant threat to NATO forces. Medical countermeasures (MedCMs) form an important part of the systems approach to defending against this threat. There are significant capability gaps in MedCMs for some nerve agents and there are no effective MedCMs for other CW agents. Establishing this RTG would be timely, because significant changes have occurred in the nature of the CW threat and in potential approaches to MedCM. The has become more asymmetric and may now include toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) in addition to traditional CW agents. The difficulty of treating percutaneous poisoning by persistent nerve agents has been increasingly recognised. Potential new treatments for CW agents and new approaches for diagnosing and monitoring CW poisoning have been identified. International cooperation in this area is essential, particularly given the requirement to use licensed pharmaceutical products when possible. The RTG will focus on coordinating national research programmes in CW MedCMs to promote more efficient and rapid progress towards improved capability. This activity supports LTCRs M.03 ‘Battlefield Medical Attention’ and M.06 ‘Counter CBRN’, and addresses the gap in ‘Situation and threat-tailored medication and/or pretreatment’ identified by STHP 8.


This activity will: (i) coordinate and leverage multinational research into Medical Chemical Defence to improve National Programmes; (ii) promote open communication to maximise benefit and exploit synergies between national programmes; (iii) develop advice on best practice for medical treatment of CW casualties; (iv) identify capability gaps and provide recommendations for research to address these.


Current MedCMs and best practice for their use. Identification of capability gaps and research needs. Approaches for the identification and development of MedCMs to CW agents. Coordination of national programmes to exploit synergies and maximise benefit.

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