Nanoscience Used to Create Universal Antivenom for Snake Bites

Image: Greg Schechter, Flickr
Image: Greg Schechter, Flickr

Breakthrough utilization of nanoparticles could counteract venom from any kind of snake — and save thousands of lives.

Up until recently, the development of antivenom was costly, time consuming, and only marginally effective in treating snake bites on a large scale. Due to the production of individual compounds of venom by different species of snakes, specific antivenoms must be developed in order to target each particular agent. Recent research using combinations of nanoparticles could broaden the range of antivenoms to provide a cheaper and superior synthetic alternative to conventional methods.

Traditional antivenoms are created using the antibodies from an affected animal’s bloodstream, a process requiring live animals, expensive technology, and large quantities of time. While the majority of people bitten by snakes reside in rural areas, the added necessity of refrigeration makes the utilization of current therapies ineffective on a large scale.

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

Research stemming from the success of nanoparticles used to remove a toxin called melittin from a bee’s bloodstream is being utilized in the development of a more inclusive venom-binding compound.

Scientists are honing in on PLA2 proteins which are the most commonly found molecules in snake venom. The theory is to impart similar nanoparticles into an organism’s bloodstream in order to bind to these PLA2 proteins and render them ineffective. Extensive experimenting incorporating different types of polymers and chemical chains resulted in a promising group of nanoparticles that bound to a wide variety of proteins, and after final chemical tweaking, most tightly to PLA2 molecules.

While the test tube results are promising, the animal trials are yet to begin, but scientists are thoroughly pleased with this breakthrough development.

Video:

The Latest

Deep-sea Shark Boasts 25 Sets of Needlepoint Teeth

Deep-sea Shark Boasts 25 Sets of Needlepoint Teeth

With its frilled gills, layered needle-point teeth, snake-like appearance, and quick-striking abilities, this shark is one of the most engrossing creatures of the deep sea. Chlamydoselachus anguineus, most commonly referred to as the...

Giant Beached Oarfish Predict Earthquakes

Giant Beached Oarfish Predict Earthquakes

Reports of oarfish turning up on shore have historically preceded earthquakes — leaving scientists pondering how some animals may be able to forecast the future. Regalecus glesne, or the oarfish, is the longest bony...

Lonely Monkey Tries to Mate with Deer

Lonely Monkey Tries to Mate with Deer

This monkey is a real swinger, and researchers have the sex tape to prove it. The Japanese macaque was recorded trying to mount not one, but two Sika deer, and even chased away...

Spider-Eating Wasp Species Build Homes with Ant Corpses

Spider-Eating Wasp Species Build Homes with Ant Corpses

A new species of spider wasp was discovered killing live ants and collecting the bodies for home security. Deuteragenia ossarium is a recently analyzed species of spider wasp that was found hiding skeletons...

100,000 Shark Fins Discovered on Rooftops in Hong Kong

100,000 Shark Fins Discovered on Rooftops in Hong Kong

A director for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society recently reported finding more than 100,000 shark fins drying on a rooftop in Shanghai.  Southeast Asia has become the frontrunner for capturing sharks and removing...

Scientists Discovered Why Elephants Don’t Get Cancer

Scientists Discovered Why Elephants Don’t Get Cancer

Image: Wikipedia While theoretically larger animals with more cells should be more predisposed to cancer — research shows elephants are hardly ever affected. Cancer is created when mistakes are made in cell reproduction,...

ABOUT US

Roaring Earth brings you thrilling, unique and thought-provoking stories about the natural world. From the wildest places on earth, to extraordinary encounters in our own backyards. Whether shot by a world-renowned filmmaker with the most exclusive camera equipment or by you on your smart phone or trail cam, we are sharing stories that are rarely covered and giving a voice to to the wildlife enthusiast within us all.

The Latest

More Roaring Videos