Black Widow Spiders, a horror story writers best friend, are characterised by their creepy, spindly legs, bulbous black body and red skull-like markings. A single bite can send a human into weeks of immense pain, nausea and vomiting.
Unsurprisingly, the hunt for a reliable antidote has been heavily sought after. Surprisingly, Andis Graudins reveals the most reliable cure is actually from the spiders themselves.
Infact, widow spiders actively produce the antivenom to their own bite to prevent self poisoning. The antivenom can then be extracted and used on infected patients.
Andis injected mice with a combination of venom and antivenom and dripped the concoctions onto muscle fibre from a dead chick.
When injected with venom, the muscle fibre twitched violently. The mice became withdrawn for ten minutes before breathing slowed, body tremors begun and finally hours of hind leg paralysis. With the spiders own antivenom however, all effects were prevented
Andis has shown that the widow spider’s bite can be treated with its own antivenom. However, more research is needed due to a string of severe allergic reactions that have prevented its widespread use across the US.