Nanoscience Used to Create Universal Antivenom for Snake Bites

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

Invasive Lionfish Hunt in Packs and Destroy Ecosystems

Invasive Lionfish Hunt in Packs and Destroy Ecosystems

Image: Wikimedia Commons Meet the lionfish: the attractive, but deadly predator that’s terrorizing oceans and decimating ecosystems. Native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, lionfish have now made themselves at home throughout the...

This Giant Deer Species Went Extinct Wielding 12ft Antlers

This Giant Deer Species Went Extinct Wielding 12ft Antlers

The largest deer species ever to walk the earth bore 12ft antlers but died out more than 10,000 years ago — leaving scientists debating its evolution. Megaloceros giganteus has many names, including the...

Wild Jaguars Are Returning to the United States

Wild Jaguars Are Returning to the United States

In the United States, mountain lions and bobcats are currently the biggest felines around; but there was once a different big cat that ruled the American Southwest — the jaguar. If you’ve watched a few...

Is De-Extinction Worth the Cost?

Is De-Extinction Worth the Cost?

Scientists are getting closer to reviving extinct species — but are the benefits worth losing species we already have?  The theoretical idea began with the legendary Jurassic Park and it is becoming a reality now...

Monkey Teaches Human How to Use Tools to Survive

Monkey Teaches Human How to Use Tools to Survive

Chimpanzees are our closest relatives, so it’s no surprise that they use tools to survive in the wilderness. But other less advanced primates make use of tools as well, and they use them...

DNA Reveals “Genetic Meltdown” Decimated Woolly Mammoths

DNA Reveals “Genetic Meltdown” Decimated Woolly Mammoths

Woolly mammoths are the most famous of all Ice Age fauna, and they roamed the frozen wastelands of North America and Eurasia until they died out roughly 10,000 years ago. Their extinction is...

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