Scorpions may cut bypass failures

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The Independent Online

Scorpion venom could be the key to reducing heart bypass failures, according to research published yesterday.

A study by Leeds University has found that a toxin in the venom of the Central American scorpion, Centruroides margaritatus, is 100 times more potent at preventing the cause of bypass failure than any other known compound. The research shows margatoxin's potential for preventing a blood vessel's response to injury.

Professor David Beech, from the Faculty of Biological Sciences, said: "It's staggeringly potent. We need very few molecules in order to obtain an effect."