Young Egyptian finds fortune in scorpions

Mohamed Hamdy Boshta, 25-year-old, shows scorpions that he hunted on Egyptian deserts and shores to extract their prized venom for medicinal use, at his company Cairo Venom Company, a project housing thousands scorpions in various farms across the country, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec 6, 2020.
PHOTO: Reuters

CAIRO  - 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.

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.

Mohamed Hamdy Boshta, 25-year-old, checks on scorpions that he hunted from Egyptian deserts and shores to extract their prized venom for medicinal use, at his company Cairo Venom Company, a project housing thousands scorpions in various farms across the country, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec 6, 2020. Picture taken December 6, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed PHOTO: Reuters

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.

Scorpions are seen glowing in a fluorescent hue, coming from a substance naturally contained in their exoskeleton, as Mohamed Hamdy shines an ultra violet light onto them, in a box at his company Cairo Venom Company, a project housing thousands scorpions in various farms across the country, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec 6, 2020. 
PHOTO: Reuters

A gram of scorpion venom can fetch $10,000 (S$13,400) 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.

Stored venom of scorpions that Mohamed Hamdy Boshta hunted from Egyptian deserts and shores to extract their prized venom for medicinal use, are seen at his company Cairo Venom Company, a project housing thousands scorpions in various farms across the country, in Cairo, Egypt, Dec 6, 2020. 
PHOTO: Reuters