Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have discovered the ‘fascinating cocktail’ of poisons contained in scorpions’ stings could combat coronavirus variants
Deadly scorpion venom could help defeat new covid variants, scientists have found.
Scorpion venoms have been used in traditional medicines across the world.
Scorpions were collected from the Egyptian desert and milked before being released back into their natural habitat.
Their venoms contain peptides, many of which are potent neurotoxins and potentially fatal.
But they also hold powerful antibacterial and antiviral qualities and are thought to protect the animal’s venomous gland from infection.
It is these peptides scientists believe could serve as a good starting point to design novel anti-coronavirus drugs.
The project is supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund and led by Dr Wael Houssen, senior research fellow at the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, and Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, Professor of Molecular Toxinology and Physiology in the Zoology Department, Faculty of Science at the University of Suez Canal.
Dr Houssen 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 awaiting discovery.”
Professor Abdel-Rahman 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.”
They will now extract the useful chemicals from the venom and explore the potential in using them to fight Covid.