An Antidote For Most Venomous Jellyfish
While investigating on the venom of box jellyfish, researchers in Australia accidentally found a potential an antidote for most venomous jellyfish.
The Australian box jellyfish is considered to be one of the most venomous and dangerous animals on earth. Each of its tentacles(3 meters long) has millions of cnidocytes. These cells release darts filled with venom into its prey or unfortunate human.
Once it has delivered its venom, the poison causes extreme pain and tissue death. One of the victim’s of box jellyfish said,” I thought that a shark had taken my right leg”.
If the victim receives a large number of dose, then venom can cause heart attack and sudden death within minutes.
Currently, there is no way to stop the action of box jellyfish venom, but researchers are trying there best to understand how it works. And how they can stop it. the researchers are trying their best to make an antidote for most venomous jellyfish.
The box jellyfish lives off the coast of the Philippines and Australia. They can reach up to a speed of 7 kilometers per hour. Their diet is small fishes which means they swim in shallow waters where humans tend to gather.
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Currently, there is no full treatment for box jellyfish stings. The author said that the hurdles in developing new therapies are a limited understanding of venom action.
Researchers from Charles Perkins center at the University of Sydney, Australia has been researching how the venom works.
Professor Greg Neely said, ”we are looking at how venom works and trying to understand how it causes pain”.
While working on an antidote for most venomous jellyfish, the scientist accidentally may have found a way to stop the venom action.
In their study researchers worked on millions of human cells, knocking different gene in each cell.
Then venom is added and waited to see which cell survived. In this way, they will know which genes can maintain its lethal power.
In the procedure, they saw that venom’s action rely upon cholesterol. It is true because cholesterol is an important component of the cell membrane is the primary target for many toxins.
Scientist already designed a number of drugs that interact with cholesterol and safe for humans.
They tested those drugs on human cells, when this was successful, they tested these on a mouse. The saw drug prevented cell death even after 15 minutes they introduced venom.
How pain works?
The research is the first step toward an effective antidote. The authors are confident that the cholesterol drug will prevent skin discoloring. But it is still not clear that will it help to prevent heart attack.
Note that there is more than one box jellyfish. The current study is going on the largest one Chironex Fleckeri. Irukandji is also equally and deadly. It is just 1 centimeter long.
The researchers are trying their best to take their work to a stage where it is marketable. And trying to make a spray for use.