Snake Venom May Be Answer to Chronic Pain

Templar – Scientists at the Templar University for Science & Technology have revealed that they believe the venom of a specific snake may be a key to treating patients with chronic pain ailments, potentially paving the way for an increased quality of life for millions of people worldwide.

Professor Lucille Deeds, Principal Investigator in the Applied Animal Anatomy Applications lab at TUST, also known as the 4A lab, said her team was originally drawn to the analgesic properties that the bite of the Sanctarian Red Viper is known to have, and isolated the protein in the snake’s venom that produces the numbing sensation to investigate further. Deeds said that initial testing and analysis suggests that the pain relief provided “may be stronger and more long-lasting than over-the-counter opiate-based drugs”, with the added benefit that “risk addiction and over-dependency may be lessened”.

Though the testing and investigation is in early stages, the 4A scientists have said that the results thus far are “really promising”, and according to Prof. Deeds, will hopefully open up opportunities for further examination to determine if there are similar benefits from venom, poison, or other natural secretions that is common in the animal kingdom. “We believe this initial progress will provide an incentive for funding organisations as well as academic institutions and private pharmaceutical and life science business to invest in more research into how by-products of animals we have previously ignored might actually provide benefits to humanity”.

The team at the 4A lab said they would continue their investigations and, with support from their university, seek approval from government ethics agencies to move their study to the next stage of testing. Prof. Deeds also said she has been in initial conversations with pharma companies – “if our findings stand as testing continues, we really do believe that this less dangerous form of pain relief will be available as a long-term treatment for those with chronic pain, and I think manufacturers will be interested in this too.”

RICARDO CAVA, Science & Technology Correspondent

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