Morphine has been commonly used as an analgesic in medicine for many decades. However, there’s a big chance that a venomous type of sea snail could soon replace the drug, which is derived from the plant with the same name.
Scientists have found that a certain type of sea snail, known as cone snail, uses its lethal venom for paralyzing its victims before it eats them. This discovery has made them question the possibility of using the snail’s venom in order to give present medicine a little boost. According to a team of experts, the cone snail’s venom could be used as a substitute for morphine since it’s stronger and it doesn’t seem to produce as much side effects as the morphine. The team has derived conotoxin proteins from the snail’s venom in order to test them on lab rats. This type of protein reduces chronic nerve pains.
The lab tests have been successful, but the scientists are still working on a conotoxin-based drug, which is yet to be tested on humans.