3 Dead, 500 Hurt in Scorpion Attacks

Heavy storms in Egypt washed them into streets, homes
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2021 2:02 AM CST
Updated Nov 15, 2021 6:47 AM CST
3 Dead, 500 Hurt in Scorpion Attacks
Stock photo   (Getty Images / EcoPic)

(Newser) – Heavy storms in Egypt last week washed scorpions into streets and homes, and the resulting attacks from the dangerous arachnids left three dead and more than 500 others injured, 9 News reports. Egypt's fat-tailed scorpions are among the world's deadliest; after a sting from one's tail, the venom can kill a person in less than an hour. Hospitals have been given extra doses of anti-venom and locals are being advised to avoid areas with lots of trees, the BBC reports.

Per the St. Louis Zoo, this is not the first time human deaths have been attributed to the fat-tailed scorpion, which typically hides during the day and uses its stinger to subdue prey and defend itself. But venom from this and other types of scorpions is also being used to fight an aggressive type of brain cancer. Chlorotoxin, a component of the venom, has been used in something called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy to kill tumor cells, City of Hope explains. Glioblastoma is among the deadliest cancers and is also the most common type of brain tumor in humans. "Much like a scorpion uses toxin components of its venom to target and kill its prey, we’re using chlorotoxin to direct the T cells to target the tumor cells," a researcher says. (Read more Egypt stories.)

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