Posted: 31 October, 2016
This Snake’s Sting Could Be The Answer To All Our Pain Problems
A snake’s venom could help scientists develop a drug that might improve pain treatment and management in humans.
"We have found the wildest snake toxin ever, from the venom of the most outrageous snakes," Bryan Fry from Queensland University told Fairfax. "It does something no other snake has ever done."
The snake in question is the long-glanded blue coral snake of south-east Asia, a snake which is known to eat young king cobras.
Scientists are excited about the prospect of using the snake’s venom for pain management purposes. New research published in the journal Toxins reveals that the venom of the blue coral snake switches on all of its prey’s nerves at once, which paralyses the victim.
"This venom hits a particular type of sodium channel that is important for the treatment of pain in humans," Dr Fry said.
"It's also the first vertebrate to do this via sodium channels," Dr Fry said. "So from a drug development perspective, this is interesting as this animal is evolutionarily-speaking closer to us than a scorpion. Which means it might be more amenable to us."
It is believed there could be as many as 200 variations of the peptides.