The Uses of Snake Venom

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Snakes ”long and short, smooth and scaly, dull and colorful, harmless ”and deadly. Don't worry, this is not going to be a scary snake story. Americans have an ambivalent attitude toward snakes. On the one hand, our popular culture loves them; our classic cars are the Shelby Cobra and the Dodge Viper. The Air Force calls its air-to-air missiles "Sidewiders.  On the other hand, few animals are more feared by the average person. Whether in movies, literature, or folklore, poisonous serpents have received bad press, which is unfortunate, because snakes like copperheads and cobras are at this moment at the forefront of some of the most exciting medical breakthroughs.

I am going to tell you today about the nature of snake venom and why it can be used in medicine. Next, we will explore some of the breakthroughs it is already used for, and finally we will discover the new applications that lie just over the medical horizon. Whether for heart attacks, organ rejection, blood pressure, strokes or many other health conditions, snake venom holds great promise for both patients and the general public alike.

Before getting to the promised land, however, we have first to find out

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