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Snake venom used to save lives: From the battlefield to the hospital bed

Article image for Snake venom used to save lives: From the battlefield to the hospital bed

Remarkable research has shown how some of the world’s most deadly snake venom could help save lives in various situations.

Professor Alan Rowan, Director of the Australian Institue for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology, told Gareth Parker that their research into Australian snakes and the protein they inject through venom could create blood clots.

Professor Rowan explained how two venoms from different species of snake, including the Eastern Brown, are very effective at creating and maintaining blood clots.

“We don’t go out and catch the venom from snakes because these turn out to be pretty bad-tempered snakes,” he explained.

“We grow the protein inside the lab and use it in wounds.”

Professor Rowan explained on 6PR Breakfast how different companies could soon use the research for lifesaving products in other cases.

“Bleeding to death turns out to be one of the major causes “of soldiers dying but also of car crashes,” he said.

“If you have a soft gell and put it in the wound with the snake venom, it will clot the blood in about 30 seconds to a minute.”

Tap PLAY to hear the full interview and how WA could soon be involved in the research.

Gareth Parker
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