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Quick test for smoke poisoning

Help for rescuers: The chemical sensor from Michael Felber and Sebastian Imstepf measures the flue gas concentration in the blood of fire victims.

Sometimes research goes intricate ways: A research group at the University of Zurich in the Department of chemistry, discovered, that a derivate of the vitamin B12 changes colour if it comes into contact with hydrocyanic acid, the most toxic component in smoke gas. They filed a patent for a blood test method. Michael Felber and Sebastian Imstepf, two young doctoral candidates, were commissioned with the commercialization of the product and started working in November 2013.

,, We realised quickly, that the potential of this product is big’’, said Felber. Present test methods for hydrocyanic acid are both time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, fire victims who show corresponding symptoms are injected with an expensive antidote on suspicion. ,, Our rapid test,’’, Felber explains, ,,eases the triage and can save both health insurance and insurance companies al lot of money.’’


Michael Felber and Sebastian Imstepf participated in the Business Creation course in 2014.