Cairo – A team of scientists has discovered that the deadly scorpion venom used in traditional medicines around the world may help defeat the new variants of the Corona virus.
Dr Wael Hussein, a researcher at the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Scotland, and Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, Professor of Molecular Toxicology and Physiology in the Department of Zoology at the Faculty of Science at Suez Canal University, said the “wonderful mixture” of toxins found in scorpion stings could potentially contribute to the development of scorpion stings. It fights the variants of the Corona virus.
Dr. Hussain manages the Global Challenges Research Fund, which supports this study.
Hussein added that studying scorpion venoms as a source of new drugs is an exciting area that deserves more research, noting that he and the research team have already seen that these venoms contain very powerful biologically active peptides, and they believe there is more to be discovered.
The scorpions were collected from the Egyptian desert and extracted their venom before returning them to their natural habitat.
Dr. Abdel Rahman said that several types of scorpions are spread in Egypt, and some of them are among the most poisonous in the world, indicating that these toxins have not been fully studied so far and may represent an unconventional source of new medicines.
The venoms of scorpions contain peptides, many of which are powerful neurotoxins and may be deadly, yet they carry powerful antibacterial and antiviral elements, and are believed to protect the toxic gland of the animal from infection.
Scientists believe that these “peptides” can serve as a good starting point for the design of new anti-coronavirus drugs, and they will extract useful chemicals from the poison and explore the possibility of using them to fight Corona.
Scorpion venom, which belongs to a family called “death stalker”, is the most expensive liquid in the world.
The price of one gallon of scorpion venom is $39 million (a gallon equals about 3.8 liters), meaning that getting one drop will cost $130.
The high price of the liquid is due to the difficulty of obtaining the scorpions themselves, as well as the process of extracting poison from them, as only one milligram can be obtained from each scorpion.
According to the Business Insider website, the liquid must be extracted from 2.64 million scorpions to collect a gallon of venom.
Animal experts say that the sting of the “death stalker” is 100 times more painful than the sting of a bee, knowing that its venom is used in the development of a number of medicines.
For example, the compound “chlorotoxins” binds to cancer cells that form in the brain and spine, which contributes to determining the exact size and location of malignant tumors.
The high price of the liquid is due to the difficulty of obtaining scorpions and extracting poison from them, as only one milligram can be obtained from each scorpion.
“Scorpion venom” was previously used to fight malaria, and it was tested with mice to treat bone diseases, in the hope that the results would reveal future solutions to serious human diseases.
The epidemic remains an exceptional event that affects the health of the world’s population.
Since the World Health Organization office in China reported the outbreak of the disease at the end of December 2019, the Corona virus has caused the death of at least 4,952,390 people in the world.
At least 243,972,710 people have been confirmed to have contracted the virus since its appearance. The vast majority of those infected recovered, although some continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.
The figures are based on daily reports issued by each country’s health authorities, and exclude subsequent reviews by statistical agencies that indicate much higher death numbers.
The World Health Organization, taking into account the excess mortality rate directly or indirectly related to Covid-19, considers that the outcome of the epidemic may be two or three times greater than the officially announced outcome.
The World Health Organization’s emergency committee said the Covid-19 epidemic was “not over yet” and called on countries to recognize all vaccines approved by the agency.
The COVID-19 emergency committee, headed by Frenchman Didier Hussein, meets every three months to assess the epidemiological situation.
After its last meeting last week, it issued a statement stressing that while progress has been made through increased use of vaccines and treatments against COVID-19, analysis of the current situation and prediction models indicate that the pandemic is not yet over.
The committee said in its statement that it had unanimously decided last week that the epidemic continues to constitute an exceptional event that harms the health of the population in the world, poses a threat to the continuation of a global outbreak and affects movement, and requires a coordinated international response.
In its recommendations to countries, the Committee continues to oppose the principle of proof of vaccination for international flights due to the uneven distribution of vaccines in the world.
It also requires countries to “recognize all vaccines that have received authorization for emergency use” from the World Health Organization.
WHO Emergency Committee calls on countries to recognize all vaccines approved by the agency
So far, the World Health Organization has approved the Moderna and Pfizer-Biontech vaccines that rely on messenger RNA technology, the Chinese Sinopharma and Sinovac vaccines and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in addition to different versions of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
A decision is expected soon on the Kovaccin vaccine, which was developed by the Indian Bharat Biotech Laboratory.
The Indian company said that the third phase trials of the Covaccin vaccine, which it produces, showed that it is 93.4 percent effective in preventing infection with corona, a result that may enhance people’s acceptance of the vaccine.
The data showed that the vaccine provides 65.2 percent protection from infection with the “delta” variant, which was first detected in India, and led to an increase in infections in April and May, and made the country witness the highest daily death toll from the disease in the world.
The vaccine, manufactured locally in India, showed an efficacy of 77.8 percent against symptomatic infection.
The third stage data came as the company “Okogen”, which is co-developing “Covaxin” with Beautech Spices for the US market, is preparing to apply for full approval for its use in the United States.
India, which has 30.45 million cases of coronavirus, is the second most affected country after the United States, which recorded 33 million infections. The number of Covid-19 deaths in the Asian country has exceeded 400,000.