The journal Nature recently saw the publication of a new study stating that, although generally feared and frowned upon, venomous snakes might in fact hold the key for the manufacturing of a new and quite potent painkiller.
More precisely, the venom of the black mamba, which happens to be one of the world's most deadly snakes, seeing how just one bite is enough to kill a man in a matter of minutes, contains not just neurotoxins, but also a chemical compound which could successfully replace morphine.
In case anyone was wondering why some doctors consider that having a replacement for morphine might come in handy, here is the answer: morphine is an opiate analgesic drug, and whenever people use it in order to ease extreme pains, they find that their breathing also slows down.
As well as this, the human body tends to become accustomed to morphine a tad too fast, meaning that tolerance to this drug is quick in emerging and on the longer run ever increased amounts of morphine must be used in order to obtain the same effects.
On the other hand, Scientific American
informs us that this new painkiller isolated from the black mamba's venom targets different pain pathways in the body, and therefore does not affect a patient's ability to breathe properly.
Moreover, it takes significantly more time for the human organism to build up tolerance to it, meaning that doctors can administer the same dosage for longer periods.
The proteins isolated in order to make this painkiller are known to science as mambalgins, and experiments on mice have shown that their pain relieving abilities are fairly similar to those of morphine.
Thus, the mice injected with mambalgins and morphine respectively kept their paws in water heated to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.11 degrees Celsius) for the same amount of time, something that proves the efficiency of these proteins in terms of easing intense pain.
For the time being, researchers working with a French company named Theralpha are busy developing a drug that can be used in order to treat people.