The toxic venom released by the cobra, one of the world’s biggest snakes, is enough to kill 20 humans with just one bite. However, cobra venom is actually used in modern medicine as a pain reliever. When ingested in smaller amounts, the proteins emitted when the snake bites and releases its venom have been found to be effective as treatment for conditions such as arthritis. This is thought to be due to venom’s ability to interact with blood flow and the nervous system. Scientists have even experimented with developing venom-based medicinal treatments for a variety of conditions such as high blood pressure, dementia, and cancer.
More about medicinal uses for venom:
- Two drugs used to treat minor heart attacks, eptifibatide and tirofiban, are based off snake venom proteins and have been in use since 1998.
- The venom from the Malayan pit viper snake has been found to be twice as effective at treating the blood clots associated with strokes as standard stroke drugs--the venom may work up to six hours after a stroke begins.
- Genetically engineered venom protein based on the southern copperhead snake was found to reduce cancer cells in mice by 90% in a University of California, Los Angeles experiment.