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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Turned out, this killer snake to help save human

It is known as the "killer of killers" for attacking and devouring some of the deadliest snakes on Earth, due to the snake has the venom can to help save human. It is blue coral snake (Calliophis bivirgata), a reptile from South East Asia has a blue body with a striking red on the head. The reptiles also have the venom glands that can grow up to a quarter of the body length.

Although it is one of the snakes are fairly well known, but the secret behind its venom still become a mystery until now. A team of scientists who have been studying the blue coral snake believe that the animal's venom can be used as a drug for humans, especially as a pain reliever.
Meet the bona fide killer known as the long-glanded blue coral snake of southeast Asia. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1fI946)
Associate Professor Bryan Fry, from the University of Queensland's School of Biological Science who contributed to the study say that he likes to see to where it is most unusual when searching for new drugs. The uniqueness of blue coral snake and it venom reacts quickly to make it interested to learn.

"Specialization in my lab is using evolution as a map, so we are looking for the weirdest thing we could find," Fry said, as quoted by News.com.au, on Monday, October 31, 2016.

"We had a simple reason, that is, if you want to find something new and amazing to be used as a drug, you're more likely to get it from very unusual venom. From the unbelievably rare animals we have made discoveries that can benefit human health," he added.

The blue coral snake can grow up to two meters and its venom glands can reach 60 centimeters. The animal has a penchant by eating the young king cobra snake. Therefore, a blue coral snake needs to have the ability to paralyze their prey immediately.
The snake’s venom acts in a similar way to a scorpion’s by instantly paralysing its victim. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1fI946)
The blue coral snake develop toxins called calliotoxin that can cause the victims seizures like an electric shock. According to research published in the Toxin journal, it is because the animal's venom contained a number of unusual peptides that can activate all nerves of the prey and causes paralysis.

So how does it work on human health? 
For Fry and his colleague, Jennifer Deuis, the workings of the calliotoxin interesting. Therefore, the sodium channels also likely to affect the appearance of the pain experienced by humans. "By blocking the sodium channels is a promising way of healing to deal with the pain," said Deuis as told to the Washington Post.

Calliotoxin also interesting because it comes from vertebrate. Accordingly, compounds that work on a system that is more similar to humans. Do not imagine that in the future the scientists will be flushed of toxins from the blue coral snake. No, that will not be done by Fry and colleagues. Fry said, that will be developed is a synthetic compound of calliotoxin.

Fry added that the insights gained from how work of the venom to generate important drug development. "Even if it can not be a cure, it is already directly teach us about how the sodium channel works and means we have more data to design the drugs," he said.

For Fry, the research was also a lesson about the importance of conservation. Declining biodiversity may complicate his task, because the number of the most venomous creatures and unique potential to become the drug also reduced. 

Like many other species, the blue coral snake is facing the hard future and uncertain. "This is a very rare snake and it will become more scarce," said Fry. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | NEWS.COM.AU]
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