The world’s mostvenomous creature just got a little bit less dangerous, thanks to researchers at the University of Sydney who have found an antidote for the sting of the Australian box jellyfish. The jellyfish has enough venom to kill over 60 people with a single sting, causing pain, skin necrosis, and, in serious cases, cardiac arrest and death with just a few minutes. Now, however, researchers have found a molecular antidote that blocks the sting’s symptoms if applied within 15 minutes.
The cure was discovered by pain researchers at the University of Syndey’s Charles Perkins Center using genome editing. To create the antidote, the researchers took millions of human cells and knocked out a different human gene in each before adding jellyfish venom and looking for cells that survived. The antidote is believed to stop necrosis, skin scarring, and alleviate all pain though further research is required to determine whether it will actually prevent a heart attack. Before being tested on live mice, the antidote was proven to work on human cells outside the body.
According to the study’s lead author, Raymond Lau, “It’s the first molecular dissection of how this type of venom works, and possibly how any venom works.”