“Even a warrior can tremble before a poisonous snake.”
The hissing sound, or rubbing sound of scales of a snake can make some persons jump out of their skin. A warrior will not fear death, but the amount of pain he has to suffer after being bitten can surely make him have a second thought before meddling with the poisonous reptile. Snake’s poison is often misunderstood as fatal resulting in loss of human or animal lives, but the real fact is that it is also used for various life saving purposes such as regulation of blood pressure, preparation of useful drugs, stimulation of successful transmission of nervous or muscular impulses. Venom from vipers and other snakes have been found useful for anti-cancer and anti-tumor activity.
Recent research in snake venom has diversified into various branches of science such as biophysics, toxicology, pharmacology, medicine and biochemistry. Snake venom consists of a not-easy-to-understand mixture of nucleotides, inorganic ions and proteins. By analysis of snake venom and other poison sources (scorpion, spiders etc), medical scientists are trying to discover how proteins in a human body work.
Antivenom is prepared by taking venom from the animal, (snake, spider or insect). It is then diluted in the lab and injected into selected animals (horse, sheep, rabbit or goat). The injected animal’s body will produce immunity response antibodies which are harvested and prepared as drugs. The antivenom formula should match the standards of World Health Organization (WHO).
The number of deaths due to poisonous bites, stings has drastically come down after the discovery of antivenom medicines. While it has been proved that antivenom cannot reverse the damage already done, but it could sustain or prevent future damage as soon as it is administered. Ohanin, a protein derived from King Cobra’s venom has been found to be more effective than morphine (pain killer).
In history, venom from cobra was used in the treatment for opium addiction and as a pain killer (combination with opium) to relief from pain. It was also used for other medicinal purposes such as treatment of depression, body pain and headaches.
Snake venom can move at a faster speed in the human body with fatal effects, but in medicinal science, small doses can be used for effective treatment of paralysis or heart attack caused from clotting of blood, Snake venom prevents or prolongs formation of new blood clots in similar cases. In recent times, venom from viper is used for after-treatment of patients in prevention of growth of cancer cells and also for anti-aging medicine.