Scientists from Australia and China said they may have found an antidote for the world’s most poisonous mushroom, according to a new study published in the journal, Nature Communications on Tuesday.
The researchers are from Australia’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney and China’s Sun Yat-sen University.
They believe that a medical dye already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and widely in use can act as an antidote for death cap mushroom poisoning.
The researchers used genome-wide CRISPR screening to identify the main toxin produced by the death cap mushrooms, called α-amanitin, and the key protein (STT3B) needed for it to have a toxic effect.
They identified it by using a virtual drug screening, a fluorescent dye called indocyanine green and tested it on human cells and mice exposed to the toxin.
It acted like an antidote and helped the animals survive.
They said more work was needed to understand how indocyanine green inhibits α-amanitin and to assess its safety for use in humans.
Mushroom poisoning is the main cause of mortality in food poisoning incidents worldwide, according to the study.
Over 90 per cent of mushroom-related deaths worldwide were caused by death cap mushrooms.
The main toxin causes high rates of irreparable liver or kidney damage and mortality following consumption.
No specific antidote is currently available.
Image Source: Encyclopaedia-Britannica