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Hemostatic Bioadhesive Gel Stops Bleeding in Seconds

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 04 Aug 2021
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Image: The deadly fer-de-lance’s venom could also help save lives (Photo courtesy of Depositphotos)
Image: The deadly fer-de-lance’s venom could also help save lives (Photo courtesy of Depositphotos)
A light-activated gelatinous hemostatic adhesive (HAD) developed from snake venom can rapidly seal wounds and stop bleeding, claims a new study.

Developed at Third Military Medical University (TMMU; Chongqing, China), the University of Western Ontario (UWO, London, Canada), and other institutions, HAD is based on gelatin methacryloyl and reptilase (batroxobin), a blood clotting enzyme found in the venom of lancehead snakes (Bothrops atrox), one of the most poisonous pit viper snakes in South America. Reptilase, which is a hemocoagulase, leads to the activation and aggregation of platelets, and efficiently transforms fibrinogen into fibrin to achieve rapid hemostasis and seal the tissue.

In murine models of various bleeding wounds, blood clotting time with HAD was about 45 seconds, compared with five to six minutes without it. In addition, HAD instantaneously achieved hemostasis on liver incision (~45 seconds) and cut rat tail (~34 seconds) and reduced blood loss by 79 and 78%, respectively. When compared to fibrin glue, considered the gold standard, the new tissue sealant has ten times the adhesive strength to resist detachment or washout due to bleeding. HAD was also efficient in sealing severely injured liver and abdominal aorta tissues. The study was published on July 14, 2021, in Science Advances.

“During trauma, injury and emergency bleeding, this ‘super glue’ can be applied by simply squeezing the tube and shining a visible light, such as a laser pointer, over it for few seconds. A smartphone flashlight will do the job,” said study co-author Professor Kibret Mequanint, PhD, of UWO. “We envision that this tissue ‘super glue’ will be used in saving lives on the battlefield, or other accidental traumas like car crashes. The applicator easily fits in first aid kits too.”

Hemotoxic snake venoms produced by vipers and pit vipers have cytotoxic effects and also disrupt normal blood coagulation processes. While some hemotoxins inhibit blood clotting, others (such as reptilase) cause platelets and other blood cells to clump together. The resulting clots block blood circulation through blood vessels and can lead to heart failure.

Related Links:

Third Military Medical University
University of Western Ontario

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