Scientists in Australia have made a significant if somewhat strange breakthrough in the development of non-addictive, but equally effective, alternative painkillers to opioids by using spider venom.
*Dr Christina Schroeder and her team of researchers at the University of Queensland have created novel tarantula mini-proteins by using the venom of a Chinese bird spider, “considered extremely aggressive and highly venomous.” *
*The mini protein, called Huwentoxin-IV, binds to pain receptors in the body and has been engineered for greater potency and targeting of specific pain receptors. *
The experimental new pain-relief drug has thus far proven highly effective in trials on mice and could one day lead to the development of alternatives to morphine-like drugs, such as fentanyl and oxycodone, which have plagued countries like the US throughout the global opioid crisis.