Could a Black Mamba Be What We Have Been Waiting For?

2012 October 4
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Currently, opioids form the mainstay of pain management, at least in cancer pain and in post-operative pain. True, opioids are safer than most other currently available analgesics, but still the side effects are a nuisance.

May be tomorrow, snake venom may offer us a powerful and safe pain killer, the BBC reports:

Black mamba venom is ‘better painkiller’ than morphine”

A painkiller as powerful as morphine, but without most of the side-effects, has been found in the deadly venom of the black mamba, say French scientists.

The predator, which uses neurotoxins to paralyse and kill small animals, is one of the fastest and most dangerous snakes in Africa.

However, tests on mice, reported in the journal Nature, showed its venom also contained a potent painkiller.

They admit to being completely baffled about why the mamba would produce it.

The researchers looked at venom from 50 species before they found the black mamba’s pain-killing proteins – called mambalgins.

Long way to go yet, though. It is early days still, as far as research on the subject is concerned.

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