Opossums are surprising us again! This time, researchers are looking to opossums to potentially create a better antidote for snakebite victims. Interested? Read on!
Researchers found that opossums have a specialized protein in their systems that protects them from certain types of snake venom. The protein binds with snake venom and helps to neutralize it so it’s not toxic to the animal.
Could opossums help scientists create a new anti-venom that could work on humans? Possibly. After synthesizing the protein, researchers found that it protected mice against the venom of certain deadly snakes. It’s promising to see that a protein that occurs naturally in one mammal was able to provide protection to another mammalian species. This might also mean hope someday for our four-legged companions who have suffered from snakebites!
It’s also possible that this specific anti-venom could be produced in large amounts, and relatively inexpensively. If it did work in humans, opossums could really make a big difference for us, as it’s estimated that there are approximately 421,000 poisonous snake bites and 20,000 fatalities each year worldwide. Read more about this research here.