Unraveling The Potential Medicine Of Venom

First Posted: Sep 22, 2016 03:54 AM EDT

Naturally, human beings are afraid of toxic animals that could sting, bite or protrude its fangs and leave a poisonous venom that can kill them. One way to avoid them is either killing them or running away from them. On the other hand, science reveals that these venoms from these animals could actually be potential medicines and cures for certain diseases if used properly.

Jennifer Holland, who writes for National Geographic said that the properties that make venom deadly are also what make it so valuable for medicine. She further said that many venom toxins target the same molecules that need to be controlled to treat disease. The active components of venom such as the peptides and proteins work as toxins and enzymes that target certain molecules, fitting into them like keys into locks, according to Holland.

The National Geographic reports a woman named Elli Lobell, who recovered from Lyme disease after she was bitten by killer (Africanized) bees. She believed that the venom from the bees killed the Lyme bacteria. Currently, she is now working with Dr. Eva Sapi in examining the components in bee venom that might treat Lyme disease.

Another potentially effective medicine is the venom of the Gila monster. Currently, the researchers are investigating the venom of this creature. It is discovered that the Gila monster has this insulin-type molecule known as exendin-4. This could regulate insulin in the body and revolutionize the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. It is also found that it can prevent Alzheimer's disease and could be used as the weight-loss drug.

The researchers are also eyeing the snake venoms that might have medicinal properties. They discovered that the Tunisian vipers have anti-tumor properties and some have antibacterial and painkiller properties. The snake venom contains hemotoxins that attack the body's clotting ability and muscles. On the other hand, the scientists also found that these hemotoxins could be used in treating heart attacks and blood disorders. The neurotoxins in snake venom have been developed into drugs to treat Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, brain injuries and stroke, according to Medical Daily.

The researchers are still investigating the venoms of other animals that could have medicinal properties. These include lizards, octopuses, spiders, scorpions, snails, bees and fish.


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