New research reveals that lethal stings from box jellyfish can be treated with zinc.
“For over 60 years researchers have sought to understand the horrifying speed and potency of the venom of the Australian box jellyfish, arguably the most venomous animal in the world,” explained lead researcher Angel Yanagihara from the University of Hawaii.
Yanagihara and colleagues extracted venom from the jellyfish and tested it on human blood. They found that the venom of box jellyfish kills by creating holes in human red blood cells which “can cause an avalanche of reactions in cells,” Yanagihara explained. “This includes an almost instantaneous, massive release of potassium that can cause acute cardiovascular collapse and death.”
The researchers were able to treat the human blood cells with a zinc compound that inhibits the chain reaction and can even slow the hole-forming process. Administering zinc as soon as possible may be life-saving technique.
To learn more:
- Find the full article, published in the journal PLoS ONE, here: Cubozoan Venom-Induced Cardiovascular Collapse Is Caused by Hyperkalemia and Prevented by Zinc Gluconate in Mice
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