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Anti-Inflammatory Drugs as Antivenom?

Compounds typically used to calm the immune system can prevent death from scorpion venom in mice, researchers report.

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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WIKIMEDIA, CLINTON & CHARLES ROBERTSONAntidotes to scorpion venom may have been lurking under our noses for quite a while. Researchers in Brazil have found that they could keep mice stung by scorpions from succumbing to the toxic effects of the venom by administering the anti-inflammatory drugs indomethacin or celecoxib. The team, led by investigators at the University of São Paulo, published its results yesterday (February 23) in Nature Communications.

The team administered either indomethacin or celecoxib to mice dosed with scorpion venom, finding that both anti-inflammatory drugs protected against death. If the drugs have the same effects in humans, they could become regular fixtures of first-aid kits, obviating the need for expensive, more-volatile, and less-widely applicable antibody-based antivenoms. “The possibility for a generic treatment is exciting,” Yale University immunologist Noah Palm, who was not involved in the work, told Chemical & Engineering News.

The anti-inflammatory drugs apparently...

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