Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Diagnostic for Spider Venom

Technology #3554

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Hernan F. Gomez
Managed By
Ed Pagani
Associate Director, Health Technologies 734-763-3558
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
US Patent Pending


Necrosis, the death of tissue in the body, can result from a variety of causes including injury, infection, inflammation and spider bites from the brown recluse. The effects of necrosis are not reversible and if left untreated can result in the loss of limbs and vital tissues. Proper treatment is dependent on the cause, which can be difficult to determine when resulting from brown recluse bites. At present, in cases where the spider has not been recovered, the wounds are typically diagnosed based upon the presence of typical morphology, a compatible history, and whether the suspected bite occurred within the expected spider territorial range. There is a high probability of misdiagnosis due to the similarities in symptoms between venom spider bites and other necrosis wounds.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a simple immunoassay for diagnosis of spider bites. The assay can be used to detect the presence of spider venom in the wound thus confirming or refuting the original diagnosis. The researchers have identified a specific protein that is present only in the venom of the Loxosceles Reclusa (brown recluse). The assay is quick, specific, conclusive and can be preformed easily in a clinical setting.

Applications and Advantages


  • Diagnosis of brown recluse spider bites


  • Proposed method is fast and easy to use and can be readily reduced to single use application devices.