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We do not yet know how to treat poisoning with the most poisonous mushroom there is: the amanita phalloides. But researchers may have found a clue.

When you imagine a poisonous mushroom, you immediately think that there is necessarily an antidote to reverse its effects. But this is actually not the case for all… And in particular for the most poisonous of all, the amanita phalloides. However, researchers would have found a track, reported in a dispatch taken up by 20 Minutes.

Poisonous mushrooms continue to kill many people, especially in China, where in the last ten years, nearly 800 people have died from them. And in 90% of cases, it’s the “chalice of death” (nickname of the mushroom species in question) which is responsible, because of its toxin alpha-amanitin, recalls ANSES. The problem is that it can easily be confused with an edible mushroom…

Symptoms related to ingestion

The Agency describes it as follows: “The amanita phalloides is a fungus with fibrous flesh, whose stem and cap are separable. It is characterized by white lamellae, a white membranous ring, and by a sac volva, white but often greenish inside”. In France, it is often found “in woods or deciduous forests (especially under oaks), preferably on non-calcareous soils. It can be seen mainly from August to October (sometimes earlier in summer and until in winter in regions with a mild climate) and generally remains confined below 1000 m altitude”.

The effects of phalloid poisoning are vomiting, very profuse diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, severe dehydration, intense thirst and tachycardia upon ingestion and up to 48 hours. Then hemorrhage may occur, and a liver damage (hepatic cytolysis, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatic failure, etc.) which can lead to coma and death, summarizes ANSES.

A product to counter its toxin

By studying its toxin more closely, they managed to identify a protein to be targeted with a drug: its name is STT3B. And they managed to identify a molecule that could counter its effects, and which already exists: ICG, or indocyanine green. They described this discovery as something unexpected, because this product is usually used to reveal the blood network of the liver during examinations.

After carrying out several tests, and in particular on mice, the scientists realized that the indocyanine green was able to significantly reduce the toxic potential of the fungus. But it remains to be seen whether it can be as conclusive in humans…

Sources: Anses, 20 Minutes

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