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