Venom from deadliest snakes could stop uncontrolled bleeding
Uncontrolled bleeding from traumatic injury remains the leading cause of preventable death with loss of balance between blood clotting (coagulation) and blood clot breakdown (fibrinolysis). A major limitation of existing hemostatic agents is that they require a functioning clotting system to control the bleeding and are largely based on gauze delivery scaffolds. Herein, a novel rapid wound sealant, composed of two recombinant snake venom proteins, the procoagulant ecarin, to rapidly initiate blood clotting and the antifibrinolytic textilinin, to prevent blood clot breakdown within a synthetic thermoresponsive hydrogel scaffold is developed. In vitro, it is demonstrated that clotting is rapidly initiated with only nanomolar concentrations of venom protein and clot breakdown is effectively inhibited by textilinin. A stable clot is formed within 60 s compared to normal clot formation in 8 min. In vivo studies reveal that the snake venom hydrogel rapidly controls warfarin-induced bleeding, reducing the bleed volume from 48% to 12% and has demonstrated immune compatibility. A new class of hemostatic agents that achieve formation of rapid and stable blood clots even in the presence of blood thinners is demonstrated here.