A SIGHT-saving drug that reverses the effect of chemicals on the body will be put to the test at the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

GNAAS doctor Dan Bearn said the new intervention is set to revolutionise the way critical care teams work.

He said: "This specific agent is called Diphoterine. It has been used in hospital environments for a while now and its job is to neutralise acid or alkali when they come into contact with the body.

"It’s potentially a sight-saving intervention that reverses chemicals and stops the burning process to prevent life-changing injuries especially to the face.

"It is administered in a fluid form which is then irrigated over the patient’s eyes or the area of the burns.

"An example of a patient who would need this would be someone who had been in an acid attack or someone who works in the chemical industry. Usually though, the chemical industry has their own supply of this.

"The injuries would be burns or to the eyes and body and this agent could potentially prevent the person from going blind. With a chemical burn, the burn keeps on going – it doesn’t stop, and this agent will help stop that process."

"The question is whether there is a real need for GNAAS to carry this agent as it is rare we go to a patient with this type of burn. Clearly, for those patients that do need it, it can be vital.

"Diphex (the company who produce the agent) have given us a 12 month supply for free. It hasn’t been used yet at GNAAS, but it has in hospital with good effect.

"It could mean the difference between a patient being blind and not blind. Loss of sight is the number one thing that can have detrimental effect on the quality of someone’s life."