The blue coral snake’s venom gland extends a quarter of its body length and can be used as an analgesic for humans.
A research team has concluded that the venom of the blue coral snake (scientific name: Calliophis bivirgata ) can be used as a new pain reliever in a study published in the journal Toxin on October 18, according to the BBC.
The blue coral snake is native to Southeast Asia and is a dangerous predator like the king cobra. It is about 2m long with venom glands extending a quarter of the body length . This snake possesses one of the most powerful venom in the world, which can instantly paralyze prey.
The blue coral snake’s venom gland spans a quarter of its body. (Photo: Tom Charlton).
‘Most snakes have slow-acting venom that acts like a powerful painkiller that makes you sleepy and then slowly dies. However, the blue coral snake’s venom works almost immediately because it often hunts dangerous prey, which must be destroyed quickly before they attack again. That’s why it’s called a killer’s killer,’ said Dr Bryan Fry, of the University of Queensland.
The strong effect of blue coral snake venom can be used as a pain reliever for humans. Snakes are vertebrates that evolved closer to humans, so the drug developed from its venom is likely to work more effectively.
‘The venom affects the sodium channel , the body’s pain center. We can turn this ability into a painkiller that works better in humans,’ Dr Fry explained.
The blue coral snake is the world’s first vertebrate whose venom works this way . However, this is a rare snake because more than 80% of its habitat has been destroyed.