Jan. 27 (UPI) — On Friday the World Health Organization updated its list of medicines that should be stockpiled to deal with nuclear and radiological emergencies.

The critical medicines stockpiled can be used to prevent or reduce radiation exposure or treat radiation injuries that occur.

“In radiation emergencies, people may be exposed to radiation at doses ranging from negligible to life-threatening. Governments need to make treatments available for those in need — fast,” said WHO’s Dr. Maria Neira in a statement. “It is essential that governments are prepared to protect the health of populations and respond immediately to emergencies. This includes having ready supplies of lifesaving medicines that will reduce risks and treat injuries from radiation.”

The WHO released a document detailing policy advice for stockpiling these medicines. It covers what’s required for developing, maintaining and managing national stockpiles of medical supplies specific to radiological and nuclear emergencies.

“This updated critical medicines list will be a vital preparedness and readiness tool for our partners to identify, procure, stockpile and deliver effective countermeasures in a timely fashion to those at risk or exposed in these events,” said WHO Executive Director of Health Emergencies Program Dr. Mike Ryan in a statement.

Among the medicines are:

  • Stable iodine, administered to prevent or reduce the exposure of the thyroid to radioactive iodine.
  • Chelating sand decorporating agents (Prussian blue, applied to remove radioactive caesium from the body and calcium DTPA and zinc, which are used to treat internal contamination with transuranium radionuclides).
  • Cytokines used for mitigation of damage to the bone marrow, in case of acute radiation syndrome (ARS).
  • and other medicines used to treat vomiting, diarrhea and infections.

The updated guidance from the WHO comes just days after the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the hands on the “Doomsday Clock” forward 10 seconds to 90 seconds before midnight because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.