Welcome back to ExpoMaster, the hub of knowledge, fun, and, oh! Creative ideas just keep coming back for more here on expomaster.com.ng. Let’s take a look at the benefits we can get from snake venom.
Now I know you must be wondering how something so lethal, toxic, and life-threatening as snake venom could be beneficial to you or society at large. Well, I guess the only way to find out is to calmly and carefully read this enlightening and informative article drafted and prepared by an expomaster.
So let’s take a look at the benefits snake venom can actually generate and inject into our society.
SNAKE VENOM CAN BE USED IN THE TREATMENT OF CANCER
Don’t be surprised, for venom gotten from rattlesnakes contains a chemical called crotoxin which can be used in the treatment of cancer. Crotoxin is toxic to human cells, but it only works on particular kinds of cells.
Good researchers harnessed the unique combination of targeting and toxicity in crotoxin to create a cancer treatment, called CB24,
which finds and kills tumor cells that are growing out of control.
Initial trials seemed promising, though CB24 is not yet commercially available. Its last clinical trial was way back in 2002. Credit: Chibuzor Nzurumike
SNAKE VENOM CAN HELP REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE, STROKE, AND DIABETES
In the 1970s, scientists created one of the first medications based on the chemical properties of venom.
The venom of the Brazilian pit viper contains a protein that disrupts the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which raises blood pressure in humans and mammals.
Researchers converted the venom into a non-toxic ACE-blocker, used to treat high blood pressure. Today, millions of Americans take ACE-blockers, which also reduce the risk of kidney disease, stroke, and diabetes. Credit: Mark Mannetti.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS
The black mamba snake, which resides in African savannahs, can kill a person with just two drops of its venom. Its potency resides in its neurotoxins, chemicals that impair the central nervous system.
Fascinated by how these chemicals bind so tightly to nerve cells, researchers at Puerto Rico’s Universidad Central del Caribe are investigating how these chemicals work in order to use them in future treatments for diseases that break down the brain and nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Credit: Tad Arensmeier.
KILL PARASITES WITH THE HELP OF SNAKE VENOM
Leishmaniasis is a really nasty disease. It can shut down a human’s internal organs, killing them, or as well cause colossal, unprepossessing skin sores that leave scars.
It’s caused by a protozoan of the Leishmania genus, put into humans’ bloodstreams by sandfly bites. Medicine can usually get rid of the microorganisms, though they are becoming more resistant to drugs.
as well as others in its family that cause other “neglected” infections such as Chagas disease and sleeping sickness. Credit: CDC.
DETECT EXPLOSIVES USING SNAKE VENOM
After 9/11, lots of people have gotten more worried about explosives, which have become extremely sophisticated. And that means that scientists have been hard at work, figuring out how to identify them. A few years ago, researchers at MIT developed a new technique for detecting explosive molecules using carbon nanotubes coated with a peptide found in bee venom—the chemical cocktail that makes bee stings hurt so much.
When an explosive material is around, the peptides change the color of the sensor, which works better than other sensors that just light up.
Though the sensor still has many limitations and won’t be found in airports anytime soon, it’s much more sensitive than any other technique. Credit: USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory
SNAKE VENOM CAN BE USED TO MAKE BATTERIES
Ionic liquids are substances that act as catalysts for electronics. Today, they are used in batteries and also as industrial solvents.
First synthesized in the late 1800s, scientists assumed that ionic liquids didn’t exist in nature. But just last year, researchers found a combination of venom from fire ants and crazy ants; a combination that does happen in the natural world, when the ants fight each other for territory. Credit: Lawrence Gilbert
If the rest of the snake venom benefits above sound so foreign to you, I know this one is definitely familiar to you; you can’t have anti-venom without venom, after all. But the process of collecting venom and developing an antidote is laborious, mostly unchanged since the late 1800s. Specialists “milk” a snake by extracting its venom and collecting it in a bowl, then freezing it to dry it.
Then an animal of choice is injected with a small amount of the venom; after a few weeks, researchers draw its blood and extract the antibodies it developed to fight the poison.
Enzymes cut out the active ingredient from the rest of the antibody, and then the final product is dried or turned into a liquid for human use. Credit: Barry Rogge