Feasibility of a field-deployable device for the rapid and early diagnosis of cyanide poisoning in whole blood
using the spectral shift of the vitamin B12 precursor cobinamide upon binding with cyanide as an indicator is being
Cyanide is an extremely potent and rapid acting poison with as little as 50 mg fatal to humans. Cyanide
poisoning has been recognized as a threat from smoke inhalation and potentially through weapons of mass destruction.
Currently, no portable rapid tests for the detection of cyanide in whole blood are available.
Cobinamide has an extremely high affinity for cyanide and captures hemoglobin associated cyanide from red
blood cells. Upon binding of cyanide, cobinamide undergoes a spectral shift that can be measured with a
spectrophotometer. We have combined the unique cyanide-binding properties of cobinamide with blood separation
technology, sample transport and a detection system, and are developing a rapid, field deployable, disposable device
which will deliver an intuitive result to a first responder, allowing for rapid response to exposure events.
Feasibility of the cobinamide-Cyanide chemistry in a rapid test using a whole blood sample from a finger-stick
has been demonstrated with an assay time from sample collection to a valid result of under 5 minutes. Data showing the
efficacy of the diagnostic method and initial device design concepts will be shown.