Stopping bleeding early during surgery or a serious accident can save lives. Now, scientists have enlisted the help of an unusual ally – snake venom, which is the basis for a novel “super glue” that can stop bleeding in seconds after being activated with light.
Batroxobin (also known as reptilase) is the active component, a blood-clotting enzyme derived from the venom of lancehead snakes. It’s been used to manage bleeding during surgery for a long time, and it was recently combined with a nanofiber hydrogel to create an injectable “bandage.”
Researchers from the Universities of Western Ontario, Manitoba, and Shantou combined batroxobin with modified gelatin to create a surgical adhesive for the current study published in the journal Science Advances. It’s also “blood-resistant,” meaning it won’t wash away in the flow, and it swiftly closes up when exposed to intense light. It might be packed in a tiny tube for use in first-aid kits in an emergency.
Where it can be used
“This ‘super glue’ may be applied during trauma, injury, and emergency bleeding by simply squeezing the tube and shining a visible light, such as a laser pointer, over it for a few seconds,” explains Kibret Mequanint, the study’s principal author. “Even a flashlight on a smartphone will suffice.”
The mixture was tested on rats with severe skin cuts, burst aortae, and liver injuries, and the researchers were able to heal the wounds in 45 seconds, decreasing blood loss by 78%. The adhesive strength is said to be ten times that of fibrin glue, which is already in widespread usage.
According to the researchers, this might be used instead of sutures during surgery or packed in a tiny tube for first-aid kits used by first responders and troops. However, there is still a lot more work to be done before that can happen.
In another research, scientists used the venom of the world’s deadliest spiders for repairing hearts and to save heart attack victims.