Young Egyptian deserts degree and finds fortune in scorpions
09 Dec 2020
Mohamed Hamdy Boshta stores venom of scorpions at his Venom Company in Cairo, Egypt. Reuters
Several years ago, a young Egyptian man abandoned his degree in archaeology to hunt scorpions in the country's deserts and shores, extracting their venom for medicinal use.
Mohamed Hamdy shows scorpions that he hunted on Egyptian deserts. Reuters
At just 25 years old, Mohamed Hamdy Boshta is now the owner of the Cairo Venom Company — a project housing 80,000 scorpions in various farms across Egypt as well as a range of snakes, also kept for their venom.
Caught using a coloured UV light, the scorpions are exposed to a tiny electric current to stimulate the release of the venom, one gram of which can produce between 20,000 and 50,000 doses of antivenom.
Mohamed Hamdy holds a scorpion at his Cairo Venom Company. Reuters
A gramme of scorpion venom can fetch $10,000 and Boshta exports it to Europe and the US where it is used to make antivenom and a range of other medicines, including for conditions such as hypertension.