HHS Boosting Nation’s Stockpile of Burn Treatments in Case of Nuclear Attack

“The detonation of an improvised nuclear device would produce intense heat, resulting in many patients with severe burns,” says a September 30 news release from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The announcement says HHS has contracted for the development of “four novel products to treat severe thermal burns.”

The products will boost the number of treatment options in case of disaster, and they’ll also be used in “routine” burn care situations.

The four treatments — one commercially available right now and three in development — “will be added to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) or managed by vendors to help protect people from burn injuries resulting from radiological and nuclear threats,” HHS said.

The announcement notes that burns stemming from a nuclear attack may require surgial skin grafting that is “resource intensive and technically demanding.” And with only 127 burn centers nationwide, a “mass casualty” incident could “easily overwhelm the nation’s burn care infrastructure.”