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NewsCoronavirus NewsStudy launched into using scorpion venom to fight Covid-19 variants

Study launched into using scorpion venom to fight Covid-19 variants

A STUDY has been launched into using scorpion venom to help fight new Covid-19 variants.

Scientists from Aberdeen University and Suez Canal University in Egypt are exploring the potential of several scorpion venoms that have demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral capabilities.

Venom samples from different species were collected from scorpions in the Egyptian Desert, which were then released back into the wild.

Scorpion venom study to fight coronavirus variants - Research news
Scorpions used in the study are milked for their venom, then released back into their natural habitat.

It is thought that this “fascinating cocktail” of biologically active peptides protects the venomous gland, at the end of the arachnid’s tail, from infection.

The peptides, which are small forms of proteins, are often found as potent neurotoxins within the venom and are the starting point for designing new anti-coronavirus drugs.

Analysis of these samples has then led to the uncovering of useful information about the peptide composition.

Dr Houssen from Aberdeen University said: “The study of scorpion venoms as a source of novel drugs is an exciting and productive area worthy of further investigation.

Dr Wael Houssen, Fellow of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Medical Sciences, Aberdeen University.

“We have already seen that these venoms contain extremely potent bioactive peptides, and we believe that there are many more await discovery.”

Professor Abdel-Rahman from Suez Canal University said: “Several scorpion species including the most toxic in the world are widespread in Egypt.

“Their venoms have not yet been fully studied and may represent an unorthodox source of new medicines.”

The project is being supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund.

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