Snake venom may help resist heart failure

Sydney: Venom from one of the world’s deadliest snakes, the Australian common taipan, is being turned into a drug for heart failure.

Susbtances in the snake’s venom, have been shown to halt the progression of heart failure. These are a unique set of active molecules which could be used in a new drug following successful trials.

In the wild the taipan can inject 60mg of venom which is enough to paralyse and kill a small marsupial or even a human adult.

Heart failure — which can often be fatal — occurs when the heart becomes too weak to pump blood round the body.

Professor Paul Alewood, of Queensland University said that early tests indicated these molecules are extremely effective at easing the heart’s workload,’ he says.