This winter, as sure as death and taxes, you will read more than one story of people or entire families perishing from malfunctioning or misused heating equipment. Carbon Monoxide will be the culprit. So this is important and (I think) quite interesting.
Perhaps the best example of this property is carbon monoxide (CO). The reason that the colorless, odorless gas is so dangerous is that its binding affinity to hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood throughout the body, is so strong (about 1,000-times that of oxygen) that it easily displaces oxygen from hemoglobin, which causes asphyxiation very quickly. In other words, oxygen doesn’t have a chance when CO is around.
The Pittsburg School of Medicine were researching CO in the body and discovered a protein, ‘H64Q’.
They found that CO binds 500-times more strongly to modified H64Q than it does to hemoglobin. Also, H64Q displaced CO from red blood cells 1200-times faster than regular air, which is consistent with its strong binding affinity. So, at least in theory, an injection of H64Q should suck the CO out of hemoglobin in red blood cells, and allow oxygen to take its rightful place.
A lot of work needs to be done, the synthesis of the protein outside the body, how to preserve it and package it for ready use. Is it safe? But someday when a lifeless child is pulled out of a building, they may be restored to life by a scientific miracle. As Glen Reynolds says; Faster Please!