How Opossums Could Hold the Key to Snakebite Victims
By: Jason Bittel
March 23, 2015
Scientists have found a compound in a marsupial’s blood (opossum). The compound found in the opossum’s blood is a molecule called a peptide and it can neutralize venom creating an anti venom for people who have been bitten by a snake. The opossum’s blood has worked against many snakes such as the American western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) and India’s Russel viper (Daboia russelii). Some marsupials like the opossum and honey badger both are immune to some snake bites because of the peptide in their blood. Claire Komives is a professor at San Jose State University in California and she did an experiment using mice to see if the peptide worked against snake venom. She hopes to find an anti venom to work on people bitten by a poisonous snake.
I chose this article because I think opossums are very cool and it interested me how they could save snake bite victims with their blood. What really grabbed my attention is when the venom specialists talked about a man in rural Nepal bitten by a cobra. His brother was trying was trying to keep him alive by squeezing the air from a rubber ball into his mouth. Snake venom takes many lives. I found it on National Geographic where there are many articles about great scientific discoveries. I learned that some marsupials blood could neutralize some snake venoms which could save a lot of lives. I agree with the scientists because someone could be on verge of death so why not try to save someone with this new discovery.
This connects to our science class because we are studying cells at the moment and the blood cells have compounds and one of them is peptide which can neutralize some certain types of snake venom. This discovery affects the world in a good way by hopefully saving many people who have been bitten by a poisonous snake. One limitation of it is that it doesn’t work on all snake venom. One question is when will the antivenom be ready to be given to humans? This was a very interesting article and I enjoyed reading it.
By: Eli Gallant