Killer or Killers: Could snake venom be the answer to relieve pain?
With its fiery red head and tail and intriguing blue body, the blue coral snake is a sight that inspires fear. Preying on the likes of king cobras, this snake wasn’t named the ‘killer of killers’ for fun. Native to South East Asia, this snake’s venom causes its prey to spasm and die almost instantaneously due to its dangerous choice of prey.
With that being said, could it be that the venom of this fear-inspiring snake is the answer to relieving our pain?
New research, published in the journal Toxin, found that the blue coral snake’s venom targets receptors which are critical to pain in humans thus making it a possible method of treatment.
The effects of the venom
Dr Bryan Fry of the University of Queensland described the snake as evolutionarily closer to humans as it’s a vertebrate thus a medicine developed from its venom could be more effective.
The venom targets our sodium channels, which are central to our transmission of pain. This revelation could potentially be turned into a way to relieve pain. “It’s got freaky venom glands, the longest of any in the world, but it’s so beautiful. It’s easily my favourite species of snake,” said Dr Fry. – BBC news
While this may turn into revolutionary news, the sad truth is that the snake is extremely rare as much of their habitat have been destroyed to make way for palm plantations.