The United States has finally cleared a medical product known as Silverlon for use in treating mustard gas-induced blisters, marking a first for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Mustard gas — or sulfur mustard — saw its most first and most devastating widespread use in World War I, but has recently seen renewed purpose in theaters such as the Iran-Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War. Among other things, the gas can cause first and second-degree skin burns, which Silverlon can be used to treat, according to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
“Chemical weapons like sulfur mustard cause horrific, painful, and life-altering injuries, yet in the 100-year history of sulfur mustard use, no medical countermeasures existed – until now,” BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D., said. “At BARDA, we are excited to have supported the first cleared product for use on skin injuries caused by sulfur mustard. This clearance exemplifies BARDA’s ongoing commitment to our partners and the nation as we seek out promising technologies and products to improve our nation’s health security and protect Americans.”
Silverlon has already been in use by Argentum Medical, LLC and in dressings utilized by healthcare professionals and first responders. BARDA has supported additional indication of the drug since 2013.
“The expanded indication for this first-of-its-kind wound contact dressing to include management of certain injuries caused by sulfur mustard vapor exposure demonstrates our commitment to working closely with our federal partners, including BARDA, to expedite the availability of medical countermeasures essential for managing responses to chemical weapons attacks in both civilian and battlefield settings,” Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said.