Saturday, August 09, 2008

Brazilian Researchers Create First Antivenom for Bee Stings

A study conducted by a team of Brazilian researchers recently developed the first antivenom serum for bee stings. Initiated in 2005, the antidote is currently undergoing clinical trials in Hospital Vital Brazil and the Hospital of the USP, both in Sao Paulo, and should reach the market later this year. The research, led by teachers Osmar Malaspina and Mario Sergio Palma, the Centre for Studies on Social Insects and Department of Biology, the Institute of Biosciences (IB), UNESP, Rio Claro campus, was officially presented on August 1, 2008, at the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

To obtain the antidote, the researchers conducted a large-scale study of the structure and function of proteins in bee venom. The test revealed 134 proteins, of which nine of were considered novel.

According to the Ministry of Health and Health Department State of Sao Paulo, in 2005, some 3,500 people in the state suffered attacks of bees and wasps. In the same period, also in Sao Paulo, the mortality rate rose from 0.35 to 1.15 per 100 thousand inhabitants.

The problem also occurs in countries like the United States, where from 1991 to 2001, 533 people died of attacks by bees and wasps.

For more information, contact Prof. Dr. Osmar Malaspina: - tel. 19-3526-4169

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