The venoms of snakes are known for being deadly, poisonous and anything but a pain reliever. However, scientists have discovered that the venom of a snake could possibly be turned into a pain-reliever, and not just any snake but one of the deadliest snake in the world – the blue coral snake.
Scientists found that the blue coral snake, which has the largest venom glands in the world, could possibly result in the answer to pain.
The snake is 2 meters long on the average and its venom glands stretch outwards and can be as long as 25 percent of its body’s length.
According to a research punished in the journal Toxin , the venom of the snake targets receptors which are critical to pain in humans and could be used as a method of treatment.
“Most snakes have a slow-acting venom that works like a powerful sedative. You get sleepy, slow before you die,” said researcher Dr. Bryan Fry from the University of Queensland.
“This snake’s venom, however, works almost immediately because it usually preys on very dangerous animals that need to be quickly killed before they can retaliate. It’s the killer of killers.”
Dr. Fry explains that it is the first vertebrate known to act this way. Also as a vertebrate, the blue coral snake is similar to humans, resulting in a venom that could potentially be used as a pain reliever.
“The venom targets our sodium channels, which are central to our transmission of pain. We could potentially turn this into something that could help relieve pain, and which might work better on us.”
The blue coral snake, which is indigenous to South East Asia, is however not common, Dr. Fry says that he has ever only seen two in the wild.
“Much of their homes have been cleared to make way for things such as palm plantations in South East Asia. Who knows what else was in that forest that could’ve potentially saved lives?” He said.
The researchers, nonetheless are not giving up but planning to study any relatives of the snake.