Aussie research finds snake venom possibly helps accelerate natural blood-clotting process

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SYDNEY, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Researchers from Australia's University of Queensland (UQ) found protein in the venom of two Australian snakes could be used as an accelerant in the body's natural blood-clotting process.

The research, published in Advanced HealthCare Materials, was released to the public on Monday. The gel, which contains venom proteins of Australia's eastern brown and scaled viper, was able to clot blood three times faster than the body's natural process, reducing blood loss by five times.

"The venomous snakes are known to contain a potent mix of various molecules ... some particular molecules have very potent activity on the human blood clotting system," said the lead author of the study, Dr. Amanda Kijas, from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).

Kijas told Xinhua that based on some previous research, the team has further identified that particular venom proteins can rapidly get the blood to clot in less than a minute, and the venom could stop the clot from breaking down again.

Kijas said the team is working on a venom gel that remains liquid when stored in a cool place but solidifies at body temperature to seal the wound. It could be sold in pharmacies, added to first aid kits, and used by paramedics or military personnel in combat zones, to stop bleeding while a patient is taken to the hospital.

"As many as 40 percent of trauma-related deaths are the result of uncontrolled bleeding, and this figure is much higher when it comes to military personnel with serious bleeding in a combat zone."

People who have dysfunctional guide clotting mechanisms, such as haemophilia, could also use the gel to avoid ending up in the hospital due to bleeding.

"When a traumatic injury occurs, the complexity of the healing process overloads the body's capacity to control the bleeding," Kijas said.

The venom gel is being tested in pre-clinical evaluations and is being scaled-up toward commercial application. The research team is also exploring how the technology could also treat burns and trauma injuries. Enditem

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