Transforming the Blood Collection Tube market

Australian scientists have found a way to use components of snake venom to improve an essential clinical tool which will assist in optimising laboratory efficiency, clinical diagnosis and patient care.

A bite from the Australian Coastal Taipan requires immediate hospitalisation and anti-venom administration. Protein from the venom of this snake and other species is now being developed to assist in patient management by rapidly producing high quality serum samples for pathology testing.

The venom of some snakes including the Taipan has a potent ability to coagulate the blood of mammals including humans and it is this ability which caught the interest of a group of Queensland medical scientists and pathologists. The team isolated the potent clotting complex and used it and other snake venom-derived prothrombin activators to develop superior blood collection tubes. Serum is the preferred sample for biochemical testing and is produced by clotting the blood in the tube with a pro-coagulant and then separating the serum from the clotted cells.

Q-Sera tubes contain highly potent snake venom-derived prothrombin activators.

Snake-derived prothrombin activators have evolved to clot mammalian systems and bypass or overcome coagulation control systems - clot to completion.

Current blood collection tubes are unable to clot samples from patients who are on high doses of anticoagulants such as heparin or the newer oral anticoagulants, the prevalence of which is increasing in the general community and hospital populations. Q-Sera’s technology has been developed to meet these needs and produce a quality serum sample in the shortest time possible from anticoagulated blood.


Q-Sera’s lead naturally-sourced active is fractionated from the venom of the Coastal Taipan snake (Oxyuranus scutellatus). The Coastal Taipan is one of the world’s most venomous snakes and is found in North East Australia and Papua New Guinea. The prothrombin activator extracted from the Taipan’s venom is a complex of Coagulation Factor Va (FVa) and Coagulation Factor Xa (FXa) - like proteins isolated via one step gel chromatography and is known as ‘OsPA’.


Q-Sera has developed a lead recombinant protein based on another snake-derived prothrombin activator. RAPClot used in serum collection tubes will provide another efficacious active for rapidly producing high quality serum.