Snake venom: life savior drug Essay

Snake venom: life savior drug



Venom is a toxic fluid secreted by animals such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, jellyfish and wasps for capturing food or killing enemies. The venom is especially associated with teeth, wings, or other piercing devices, which are produced by special glands.Venoms are mixtures of enzymes and proteins that act on the body in different ways and may toxic to human. Venom enzymes include digestive hydrolases, hyaluronidase, kininogenase. Most venoms contain l-amino acid oxidase, phosphomono- and diesterases, 5’-nucleotidase, DNAase, NAD-nucleosidase, phospholipase A2 and peptidases such as zinc metalloproteinase haemorrhagins: Damage vascular endothelium, causing bleeding, serine proteases and other procoagulant enzymes. Venom attacks can severely spread through the crisis due to immediate death of local skin, depending on the effectiveness and method of the animal involved in it and its poison. The severity of an attack also depends on the victim's age and the location of the injury. Snakes secrete venomous toxic substance that are synthesized and stored in certain areas of their body, such as, venom glands. About 2.5 million people are bitten by snakes, about 100",000 of them die(Koh, Armugam and Jeyaseelan, 2006). Many of them are silly, but some degree can cause toxicity. Snake venom creates significant deaths and diseases worldwide and most of us call for strikes.The toxic effect of snake venom can destroy the tumor cells. Venom contains cytotoxins and cardiotoxins which cause damage to cell membrane. Snake venoms are not harmful if ingested because protein-based toxins break down by stomach acid and digestive enzymes into their basic ingredients. It neutralizes protein toxicity and descends their amino acids. Anyway, if the toxic is circulated in blood, the result may be fatal(Vyas et al., 2013). The purpose of this article is to review the latest literature on therapeutic feasibility of snake venom in an effort to establish a scientific basis for using snake venom for treatment.

Are all of snakes venomous?

About 20 of them toxic out of around 120 species of indigenous snakes in all over the world. Apart from coral snakes, all of them are toxic snakes, pit vipers (Rattlesnakes, Cottonmouth and Copperhead).Minton has described the management of 54 bites from at least 29 non-resident toxic snakes, which were kept by zoos or amateur or professional collectors.The most common species were the cobra, which is considered as the impressive lethal snake. Cobras are popular in zoos as well as to the snake keepers and are available in the animal fair(FINLEY, 1964; Rn, 1996).

Venomous vs. non-venomous snake

For the diagnosis of poisonous toxicity, the need for a positive identification of the snake and the clinical release of cruelty.Parts of the snake should not be handled directly, because the curved reaction in the recently killed or deceptive snakes is intact, it can burn a bite.Zoos or aquariums may be available to help positive identification of Herpetologists.

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Figure: Comparison of venomous snake and non-venomous snake(Snakes, The and States, 2002)

Types of Snake Venom

Venoms are of different kinds. Neurotoxin venoms affect the brain and nervous system and may lead to paralysis or weakening or arrest of respiration and heartbeat. They can block neurotransmitter production or neurotransmitter receptor sites. These snakes have small, steep fungi, and among them there are graves, tall, sea snakes, corpses and coral snakes. Toxins as, hemotoxin affects blood or blood vessels, cytotoxin venoms affect body cells, cardiotoxin affects heart cells, myotoxin affects muscle cells, nephrotoxin affects kidney cells. Some small blood vessels destroy the lining and allow blood to enter the tissue, producing extensive hemorrhages, whereas others exhibit less blood or accelerate clotting abnormally, leading to the collapse of circulation that could be fatal. Snakes called vipers and pit vipers produce hemotoxins. Yet other venoms cause symptoms of allergic reactions, resulting in wheezing, bloating and violent inflammation, often following the death of tissues and muscle spasms(Koh, Armugam and Jeyaseelan, 2006).

Roles of Snake Venom as Drug

Snake venom is used to many poisonous investigations and formulated in medicine for treating such conditions cancer, hypertension, and thrombosis.China uses cobra venom to treat opium addiction, liver, lung, esophageal and skin cancers as well as leukemia and arthritis. India uses Cobra venom as a hepatic stimulant and to revive collapsed patients.Neurotoxins have been used to treat arthritis and Alzheimer. Neurotoxins have been used widely in the field of medicine and science, and have shown improvements in its patients. Neurotoxins target the central nervous system. Cobra venom is a powerful painkiller which works as morphine but has no side effects. Cobra venom is safe and non-addictive way to treat pain. Cobra venom has the potential to slow down the degeneration of joints as in Rheumatoid Arthritis. It also reportedly has anti- depressive activity. Cobra venom is also used to treat back pains, menstrual pains",headaches, arthritis and etc.Hemotoxins target the circulatory system. These contain anti- clotting activity. The protein ‘Ancrod’ which is present in hemotoxins prevent clotting compounds from functioning correctly, which causes uncontrollable bleeding. In Heart attacks, Ancrod seems able to dissolve the blood clots that cause stroke for as long as 6 hours after stroke symptoms start. Ancrod can also prevent new blood clots from forming.A common problem with angioplasties is that during the surgery, the breakdown of the plaque can lead to the formation of blood clots. One way to reduce the risk of this happening is to use a venom derivative called ReoPro. The IV form of this drug uses an integrin antagonist, which blocks the binding of integrin and fibrinogen to prevent blood clots.In Hypertension, Peptides in snake venoms have the potency to prevent a compound called angiotensin – converting enzyme (ACE).Captopril which is derived from snake venom was the first orally active ACE inhibitory antihypertensive. Snake venom can have one of two effects on the coagulation process: it can either promote rapid clotting, or prevent it completely.The promotion of rapid clotting is currently being investigated for use in traumas to prevent high volume blood loss(Hodgson and Isbister, no date; Kondo et al., 1960; Lewis and Garcia, 2003; Marcinkiewicz, 2005). In cancer treatment, Cytotoxic effects of snake venom have potential to degrade/destroy tumor cells. These may treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer by destroying malignant cells. According to recent study, snake venom extracted from Walterinessiaaegyptia alone or in combination with silica nano- particles can decrease the proliferation of human breast carcinoma cell line. The snake venom toxin from Viperalebentinaturnica induces apoptotic cell death of ovarian cancer cells. A new form of cancer treatment using drugs called 'angiogenesis inhibitors' that specifically halt new blood vessel growth and starve a tumor by cutting off its blood supply. A substance in the body called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is responsible for the growth of new blood vessels. It promotes this growth by stimulating the endothelial cells, which form the walls of the vessels and transport nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. Anti-Angiogenic drugs prevent the VEGF from binding with the receptors on the surface of the endothelial cells. (Xieet al., 2003; Li, Huang and Lin, 2018).


FINLEY, J. C. (1964) ‘Nature and Treatment of Bites of Venomous Snakes in Canada: a Review.’, Canadian Medical Association journal, 90, pp. 1457–1463.

Hodgson, W. C. and Isbister, G. K. (no date) ‘The application of toxins and venoms to cardiovascular drug discovery’, pp. 3–6. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2008.11.007.

Koh, D. C. I., Armugam, A. and Jeyaseelan, K. (2006) ‘Snake venom components and their applications in biomedicine’, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 63(24), pp. 3030–3041. doi: 10.1007/s00018-006-6315-0.

Kondo, H. et al. (1960) ‘STUDIES ON THE QUANTITATIVE ACTIVITY METHOD FOR DETERMINATION VENOM OF HEMORRHAGIC OF HABU SNAKE HISASHI KONDO , SATORU KONDO , HIROO IKEZAWA , Department of Serology , National Institute of Health , Tokyo AND AKIRA OHSAKA Department of Chemistry , Nation’, Jap. J. M. Sc. E Biol., pp. 43–51.

Lewis, R. J. and Garcia, M. L. (2003) ‘Therapeutic potential of venom peptides’, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 2(10), pp. 790–802. doi: 10.1038/nrd1197.

Li, L., Huang, J. and Lin, Y. (2018) ‘Snake Venoms in Cancer Therapy: Past, Present and Future’, pp. 1–8. doi: 10.3390/toxins10090346.

Marcinkiewicz, C. (2005) ‘Functional characteristic of snake venom disintegrins: potential therapeutic implication.’, Current pharmaceutical design, 11(7), pp. 815–27. Available at:

Rn, J. A. (1996) ‘Counterpoint to “Helmets on Climbers”’, Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. Elsevier, 7(1), pp. 75–76. doi: 10.1580/1080-6032(1996)007.

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Vyas, V. K. et al. (2013) ‘Therapeutic potential of snake venom in cancer therapy: Current perspectives’, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. Asian Pacific Tropical Biomedical Magazine, 3(2), pp. 156–162. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60042-8.

Xie, J. P. et al. (2003) ‘In vitro activities of small peptides from snake venom against clinical isolates of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis’, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 22(2), pp. 172–174. doi: 10.1016/S0924-8579(03)00110-9.

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