Deadly Box Jellyfish Antidote Discovered

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Deadly Box Jellyfish Antidote Discovered

Post by fountainhall » Wed May 01, 2019 2:14 pm

I put this in the Thailand thread since there were some much earlier threads about box jellyfish off Thaiiand.

These creatures are amongst the most deadly on the planet. The stings of just one can kill up to 60 people. Originally they were mostly found in waters off Australia (another less deadly type is more common in European waters). With global warming, they started moving north. 11 years ago they were seen off Phuket when an Australian tourist was stung close to the shore at Patong and died within three minutes. These little monsters are soon seen off Krabi when a Swedish tourist died after being stung. Naturally the deaths were not reported in the Thai news media. I learned about them from an article in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

Worse, there were obviously far more of the creatures in the sea. Traps set by local fishermen caught three one evening, then ten the next.
if two small traps net the jellyfish regularly, it's probable that thousands more are already in the water. 'This is all new to us,' said Dr Somchai [Somchai Bussarawit, the chief of the museum and aquarium at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre], who is now finding out all he can about the marine creature. ... dow-phuket

White vinegar was recommended by many experts as the best antidote to douse the stings before getting the patient quickly to hospital. Although contentious, this advice was also provided on the Australian government website.

Now, though, Australian researchers appear to have discovered an antidote to the venom.
A single sting from the creature will cause excruciating pain and skin necrosis and, if the dose of venom is large enough, cardiac arrest and death within just minutes.

Using genome editing, pain researchers at the university’s Charles Perkins Centre found a “molecular antidote” that blocks the symptoms of a box jellyfish sting if applied to skin within 15 minutes.

The researchers took millions of human cells and knocked out a different human gene in each one, before adding the jellyfish venom and looking for cells that survived the process.

“It’s the first molecular dissection of how this type of venom works, and possibly how any venom works,” the study’s lead author, Raymond Lau, said.

The researchers believe the drug – which is safe for human use and is already available – will stop necrosis, skin scarring and pain completely when applied to the skin, but further research is needed to find out whether it will stop a heart attack. ... SApp_Other

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