Thursday, July 25, 2024

Sea Snail Venom Could Replace Morphine As A Painkiller


Researchers are hoping to be able to use venom from a sea snail as a painkiller to replace Morphine.

While opioids are highly effective, they have unpleasant side effects and addiction problems. Already some sea snail venom is known for its painkilling properties and has less harmful side effects in some patients.

The research is being conducted on the Conus Rolani snail by the University of Copenhagen. The researchers found that poison from the snail was more effective in blocking out pain in mice than Morphine.

The study was headed by Associate Professor Helena Safavi, who stated:

“We have discovered a so-called toxin that blocks out pain in a completely different way than well-known drugs like morphine, and hopefully this will enable us to avoid some of the most damaging effects of morphine on humans.”

She added:

“We need a better alternative for people who are in great pain – an alternative that is less addictive than e.g. Morphine and opioids. In Denmark, opioids do not represent a huge problem, but in other parts of the world it is quite extensive. But we believe it does this to protect itself. It waits until the fish is so weak that it cannot struggle, whereas other sea snails with more fast-working poison risk getting hurt by clinging to their victim.”

Check out the study in Science Advances.

Sea Snail hunting (Image credit: Dylan Taylor and Baldomero M. Olivera, University of Utah)
Sea Snail hunting (Image credit: Dylan Taylor and Baldomero M. Olivera, University of Utah via Science Advances)
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for