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Deadly taipan venom can save lives

Snake handler Neil Charles milks coastal taipan - the third deadliest snake in the world. PIC: Contributed
Snake handler Neil Charles milks coastal taipan - the third deadliest snake in the world. PIC: Contributed

THE venom from one of the world's most deadly snakes could save lives.

Queensland scientists have used the deadly snake venom to develop a blood-clotting technology for use in blood collection tubes.

Science and Innovation Minister Ian Walker said the ground-breaking research, which will preserve the integrity of blood samples, was expected to have multiple outcomes - saving lives, reducing costs and making blood testing easier for doctors and patients.

He said the Queensland Government was supporting the project through the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund which enabled medical institutes and hospitals to make the commercial leap from the laboratory to the marketplace.

MRCF beneficiary Q-Sera's Dr Goce Dimeski said it was cutting-edge blood testing technology from Coastal Taipan venom.

"Snake venom has the ability to coagulate blood and clotting blood to make serum for pathology tests is a big issue, particularly for patients on anticoagulants, including cardiac patients," she said.

"The problem with anticoagulants is that they can throw a blood test out.

"If the blood testing is not accurate, getting the medication balance can be difficult, causing distress for patients and it costs the taxpayer more due to retesting."

Dr Dimeski said the technology Q-Sera had developed solved these issues and also produced a quality serum sample in the shortest time possible for pathology tests - a pivotal requirement in saving lives.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said these technologies addressed community health challenges, as well as providing long-term economic returns to the state.

"This kind of ground-breaking work is another example of the world class researchers and facilities we are supporting in Queensland," he said.

Topics:  taipan venom



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