Scientists create first human antibodies that treat black widow spider bites

By Around the Web


(STUDY FINDS) — Getting bit by a spider can be really scary regardless of which species bit you. They creep and crawl and can sneak around until they attack. Thankfully, humans may now have an antidote for one of the most feared spiders around. Scientists have developed fully human antibodies that can successfully neutralize the toxin in black widow spider venom.

“For the first time, we present human antibodies which show neutralization of black widow spider venom in a cell-based assay,” says Professor Michael Hust, a biologist at the Technical University of Braunschweig and senior author of the study, in a media release. “This is the first step to replace the horse sera that are still used to treat the severe symptoms after a black widow spider bite.”

Bites from these spiders can cause latrodectism, a disease where the neurotoxic venom called alpha-latrotoxin attacks the nervous system and leads to unpleasant symptoms like severe pain, hypertension, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Until now, horse serum has been used as an antivenom for these bites due to the animal’s powerful antibodies. Since there are risks involved in using horse antibodies, however, researchers in Germany wanted to develop compatible human antibodies.

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