So Help Me, It’s True…

By Alan B. Combs

One of the categories of useful cardiovascular drugs that I cover in my classes is that of anticoagulants, drugs that decrease blood clotting. Anyone that watches commercials knows that aspirin is highly touted for this property. One of the wonderful ironies, however, is that Nature frequently has done it better than we can.

We have clinically useful anticoagulants derived from leech saliva (hirudin, hirulog, and others). As far as I know, no one is studying mosquito spit, but there are at least a couple of potentially medically useful factors from vampire bat saliva that are being studied.

One is a clot dissolving factor, desmotiplase. The other factor is a highly active, noncompetetive inhibitor of activated Factor X, which makes it a very active anticoagulant. The main reason I bring it up, of course, is that the current name of the anticoagulant factor is Draculin.

rosecatt added:
“Draculin……..very fiendish indeed, Alan! And I am feeling particularly blonde tonight, so I hope you won’t mind if I make the logical assumption that if Draculin comes from vampire batspit, aspirin comes from snakespit. (Right?)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *