It’s a tremendously deadly weapon, refined over the course of more than 100 million years. It kills tens of thousands of people every year.
And thanks to new research, it may soon be the basis for cures that save the lives of many more.
As predators, snakes are missing a few key attributes. They have no legs to chase down their prey, no paws to knock down quarry, and no claws to hold their victims. But none of these deficiencies matters much, because evolution has handed snakes the ultimate weapon: venom. With it, the several hundred types of venomous snakes can kill or debilitate before their victims escape.