A chemical compound that is used on heart patients may raise chances of survival for snakebite victims, Australian scientists said yesterday.
In a paper published in Nature Medicine, the researchers said the chemical nitric oxide can slow down by as much as 50 percent the time it takes for snake venom to enter the bloodstream.
With that extra time, victims can seek medical help, said lead author Dirk van Helden, professor at the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle Australia.
“When you are bitten by a snake, the toxins are large molecules and they get injected into tissues. They can’t break into blood vessels because they are too big. So they get taken up by the lymphatic system and it takes them into the blood vessels,” Helden said in a telephone interview. “The idea is to close off the lymph flow ... and we tried it and it markedly slowed lymph flow in rats and also in humans.”
In their experiment, Helden and colleagues rubbed an ointment containing nitric oxide around the spot where mice were injected with lethal doses of snake venom and found that it slowed lymph flow significantly.
“[They] lived for an hour on average [without ointment], but when we put the cream on, [another group of mice] lived for 90 minutes. If you can slow the lymph, it has a massive effect on survival,” he said.
The ointment had the same effect on human volunteers, although in this case, the participants were injected with a harmless dye, which had molecules of roughly the same size as snake venom.
Helden said nitric oxide had the effect of slowing down the pumping action of the lymphatic system, which in turn slowed down the transportation of the venom into the bloodstream.
Each year, snakebite accounts for an estimated 100,000 deaths and 400,000 amputations worldwide, mostly in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa because antivenom is not readily available.
Australia is home to some of the world’s most venomous snakes.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed