Some researchers from Australia believe that they found an antidote for a sting of a very venomous creature, the box jellyfish. They come from the University of Sydney and they have worked on how the venom is so deadly, it could kill 60 people. The team has found out that the venom needs cholesterol in order to kill humans. They then tried to find an existing drug that could kill it. There are many drugs available that targets cholesterol. The team tried some of them.
They found one that works. It is the antidote – a molecular antidote. They ran tests by using human cells and mice, and they found out that they can stop the scarring of the tissue and they can get rid of the pain that comes from the sting. But all of this on one condition: the medicine has to be injected in the first 15 minutes from the “attack”.
How dangerous is the sting, exactly?
The stings from the box jellyfish can cause muscular pain, vomiting, even heart failure, strokes or death – only in minutes. The box jellyfish can be smaller than a fingernail, or up to three meters long – it really depends on the species.
They have tested the sting from the larger species, which are also more deadly. They know for sure that the drug will stop the necrosis, the scarring of the skin and the pain completely when the antidote gets in.
However, they are not sure whether they can stop a heart attack. They need more research for that, and they need funding in order to continue with the work. The team wants to develop a cream or a spray that can prevent these stings that kills dozens of people and hospitalize many more.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.