Some animals produce venom that is lethal to both their prey and to humans, but scientists are finding ways to use these compounds as medicine.
Heroin-like Venom From This Fanged Fish Could Bring New Painkillers
“Fang blennies are timid and colorful fish that are popular with aquarium enthusiasts, but many of them have a venomous bite. Even skilled researchers have had their hands chomped on by venomous fang blennies, resulting in inflammation and an odd feeling that goes away after a short while. Avoiding such problems, a scientific team recently studied fang blennies, focusing on the fish’s venom. They determined that the venom is full of opioid compounds known as peptides that act like heroin or morphine, inhibiting pain rather than causing it.”
Animal venom studies: Current benefits and future developments
“The toxic substances in the venom of these animals are mainly of protein and peptide origin. Recent studies have indicated that the single venom may contain up to several hundred different components producing diverse physiological effects. Bites or stings by certain poisonous species result in severe envenomations leading in some cases to death.”
Zoo to Australians: Please help us catch deadly funnel-web spiders
“Funnel-web spider bites like this are rare, though they can be severe. In such cases, antivenom will make the difference between life and death. But the Australian Reptile Park, a New South Wales zoo that provides all of the country’s funnel-web spider venom, is currently at risk of running dry. The zoo milks the spiders for their venom to produce the antidote. And it is short on spiders.”
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Written By: Lauren Ellis