The Use of Venom in Medical Treatment

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Can the Venom from Poisonous Animals Be Used in Medical Treatment? The venom of most animals have for years been perceived to be dangerous in the society (King, (2015). Scientific research that have been conducted have played a significant role in transforming these perceptions as some of these venoms can be used as treatment for other human diseases in the community (White, 2017). Modern biochemical studies have been the backbone of trying to identify the correlation that exists between the venom and the treatment of these health conditions affecting humankind.

Studies that were conducted by Albert Calmette indicated that animals that had been induced by small venom into their bodies, their blood serum grew stronger (Utkin, 2015). The venom of the bee has also been indicated to have the capability of interacting with potassium channels thus making the organism to be non-toxic (Oller‐Salvia et al., 2013). The peptide known as clorotoxion which is found in scorpion venom has the ability to penetrate BBB thus enabling to detect cancer metastases and foci noninvasively (Veiseh et al., 2007). The cholorotoxin which is linked to the dye Tumor Paint plays an active function in lighting up cancer cells which medical practitioners can use to deal with brain tumors (Osipov and Utkin, 2012). The other clinical update that was made about the venoms of the cone snail include the transformation of real neurotoxic peptide into medicine (Pope and Deer, 2013). Tirofiban which is produced by saw-scaled viper known as Echis carinatus has been transformed into an antiplatelet drug (Hashemzadeh et al., 2008). Ophiophagus Hannah which is a king cobra, studies have been conducted to sequence its venom in a medicinal antidote (Vonk et al., 2013). The venom of Bothrops asper was sequenced and utilized for DNA animal immunization (Arce-Estrada et al., 2009). Antisera obtained from snakes’ venom has also been used as a form of treatment (Gutiérrez, 2012).

All in all, despite the venoms of scorpion, scorpion, snakes, and cone snail being poisonous, studies have been conducted to sequence these venoms into active treatments (Kalia, 2015). The treatments have played a significant role in treating medical conditions of people in the society (Brahma, McCleary, Kini, & Doley, 2015).


Arce-Estrada, V., Azofeifa-Cordero, G., Estrada, R., Alape-Girón, A., & Flores-Díaz, M. (2009). Neutralization of venom-induced hemorrhage by equine antibodies raised by immunization with a plasmid encoding a novel P-II metalloproteinase from the lancehead pitviper Bothrops asper. Vaccine, 27(3), 460-466.

Brahma, R. K., McCleary, R. J., Kini, R. M., & Doley, R. (2015). Venom gland transcriptomics for identifying, cataloging, and characterizing venom proteins in snakes. Toxicon, 93, 1-10.

Gutiérrez, J. M. (2012). Improving antivenom availability and accessibility: science, technology, and beyond. Toxicon, 60(4), 676-687.

Hashemzadeh, M., Furukawa, M., Goldsberry, S., & Movahed, M. R. (2008). Chemical structures and mode of action of intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor blockers: a review. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology, 13(4), 192.

Kalia, J., Milescu, M., Salvatierra, J., Wagner, J., Klint, J. K., King, G. F., ... & Bosmans, F. (2015). From foe to friend: using animal toxins to investigate ion channel function. Journal of molecular biology, 427(1), 158-175.

King, G. (Ed.). (2015). Venoms to drugs: venom as a source for the development of human therapeutics. Royal Society of Chemistry.

Oller‐Salvia, B., Teixidó, M., & Giralt, E. (2013). From venoms to BBB shuttles: synthesis and blood–brain barrier transport assessment of apamin and a nontoxic analog. Peptide Science, 100(6), 675-686.

Osipov, A., & Utkin, Y. (2012). Effects of snake venom polypeptides on central nervous system. Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (Formerly Current Medicinal Chemistry-Central Nervous System Agents), 12(4), 315-328.

Pope, J. E., & Deer, T. R. (2013). Ziconotide: a clinical update and pharmacologic review. Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy, 14(7), 957-966.

Utkin, Y. N. (2015). Animal venom studies: Current benefits and future developments. World journal of biological chemistry, 6(2), 28.

Veiseh, M., Gabikian, P., Bahrami, S. B., Veiseh, O., Zhang, M., Hackman, R. C., ... & Kwok, D. (2007). Tumor paint: a chlorotoxin: Cy5. 5 bioconjugate for intraoperative visualization of cancer foci. Cancer research, 67(14), 6882-6888.

Vonk, F. J., Casewell, N. R., Henkel, C. V., Heimberg, A. M., Jansen, H. J., McCleary, R. J., ... & Wüster, W. (2013). The king cobra genome reveals dynamic gene evolution and adaptation in the snake venom system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(51), 20651-20656.

White, J. (2017). Poisonous and Venomous Animals-The Physician’s View. In Handbook of clinical toxicology of animal venoms and poisons (pp. 9-26). CRC Press.

August 04, 2023


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