Saturday, May 23, 2015Saturday, May 23, 2015

Snail venom proven to reduce pain in early lab trial

Published on Mar 16, 2014 10:51 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An experimental drug made from snail venom has shown early signs of promise in numbing pain, raising hopes in the hunt for new, non-addictive medications, researchers said on Sunday.

The drug, which has not been tested yet on humans, was judged to be about 100 times more potent than morphine or gabapentin, which are currently considered the gold standard for chronic nerve pain.

The active ingredient, conotoxin, comes from carnivorous cone snails, which are common in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

The marine animals can reach out and stab prey, injecting a venom that paralyzes fish long enough for the snail to eat it up.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!