Innovative Drug Formulation Brings New Hope to Scorpion Sting Patients
Scorpion envenomation presents a life-threatening challenge in many regions worldwide, with the Indian red scorpion (Mesobuthus tamulus) ranking among the most perilous scorpions globally. The current standard treatment predominantly relies on equine anti-scorpion antivenom (ASA) administered intravenously. Nevertheless, this treatment has its limitations, characterized by a low proportion of venom-specific antibodies and the potential for adverse reactions.
Addressing this pressing issue, a collaborative effort between scientists from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Tezpur University, and researchers from NIELIT, Guwahati, has given rise to an innovative therapeutic drug formulation (TDF). This TDF, comprised of modest quantities of commercial ASA, α1-adrenoreceptor agonist (AAAs), and vitamin C, aims to thwart the toxicity induced by the Indian red scorpion venom and its associated symptoms.
The Challenge of Scorpion Envenomation
The Indian red scorpion is notorious for its life-threatening sting, which, if not promptly addressed, can prove fatal. The prevailing treatment for scorpion stings involves intravenous administration of equine anti-scorpion antivenom (ASA), specifically targeted against M. tamulus venom (MTV). However, its efficacy is impeded by the scarcity of venom-specific antibodies, particularly against low molecular mass channel toxins. This inadequacy necessitates high antivenom doses, amplifying the risk of adverse reactions in patients. The multifaceted nature of scorpion envenomation underscores the demand for extensive research and novel therapeutic approaches.
Conventional Therapy with α1-Adrenoreceptor Agonists
In addition to ASA, conventional treatment for scorpion stings often incorporates α1-adrenoreceptor agonists (AAAs), such as Prazosin, either as standalone or in combination with commercial ASA. Nonetheless, this therapeutic approach has exhibited limited efficacy and certain constraints.
A Novel Therapeutic Strategy
In response to the challenges in scorpion envenomation treatment, a collaborative research team from IASST, Tezpur University, and NIELIT, Guwahati, has introduced a groundbreaking therapeutic drug formulation (TDF). This innovative approach combines modest doses of commercial ASA, AAAs, and vitamin C to counteract the toxicity induced by the Indian red scorpion venom and its associated symptoms.
Prior to transitioning to in vivo animal models, the researchers initially assessed the drug’s effectiveness using Caenorhabditis elegans, a free-living nematode model, as an alternative to conventional animal testing. The outcomes of their investigation have been recently documented in the journal “Toxins,” and an Indian patent has been filed for this pioneering drug formulation.
The study showcased the TDF’s effectiveness in efficiently neutralizing the Indian red scorpion venom. It successfully averted an increase in blood glucose levels, organ tissue damage, necrosis, and pulmonary edema in Wistar rats. Significantly, the TDF outperformed commercial ASA, AAAs, and vitamin C in mitigating the effects of scorpion venom.