Blood clot prevention using Snake Venom

A protein in the snake venom could be used to create an anti-clogging drug. It could prove beneficial during surgeries and for people having heart diseases.

A team of scientists at the National Taiwan University formed a drug making use of the Tropidolaemus Waglerix snake’s venom. Waglerix ranges from 20 to 3 feet in length and is basically a tree dweller native to South East Asia.

Reptile Venom has made its way into the medical field providing a safer use. It is believed that snake venom could be used as a safer alternative to other anti-clotting drugs after confirmation of the presence of protein in it. Trowaglerix is a protein that stimulates the platelets present in blood to form blood clots. It interacts with a receptor protein called as Glycoprotein VI (GPVI). Glycoprotein VI is present on the surface of platelets.

Generally, blood clotting is related to different complication during medical procedures and it may lead to blockage of arteries and veins. Blood clotting may lead to serious health threat causing angina and sudden heart attack.

snake venom could prevent blood clots

Getty Images

At present, all medications prevent platelets from forming a blood clot but there is always a risk of bleeding associated with it. Aspirin is the most commonly used medicine in this regard.

Being a safer alternative, it is also important to ensure the interaction of molecules only with Glycoprotein VI otherwise it may result in other unintended reactions.

Richard C. Becker, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and director of the University of Cincinnati Heart, Lung & Vascular Institute in Ohio said that bleeding has always remained a barrier to the optimal therapy for all different drugs manufactured to prevent clogging.

It is also an important aspect of this research that the snakes would not be milked for their venom even after the drug passes through successful approval.

snake venom prevents blood clots

San Diego Zoo

According to reports, the direct utilization of snake venom would not be done but the peptides would be isolated from it and then they could be used as a blueprint for drug manufacturing. In addition, they can be synthetically manufactured using detailed peptide structure and based on the chemical blueprint.

“Trowaglerix can limit the clotting, eliminating the risk of severe bleeding”, said Tur-Fu Huang of the Graduate Institute of Pharmacology at National Taiwan University.

As a future implication, Dr. Tseng said that we need to extend the exposure of this research in order to increase the exposure time of drug in the human body. Generally, such molecules do not last in the body for a longer period and some techniques like formulation and delivery system efficacy need to be done.

The related studies and findings of research using snake venom as a therapy against the clogging could be found in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Being in the early stage of research, the tests were done on mice and impacts of this drug could be predicted in human beings. It may need a long time of eight years to get safe approval from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other concerned authorities.