2. Brazilian arrowhead viper
No. 2 on our list of animals that have improved human medicine is the Brazilian arrowhead viper. Also called a Brazilian pit viper, its venom was the foundation for developing one of the first ACE inhibitors, a group of medicines used to treat congestive heart failure and hypertension.
Experts point out that a snake needs its prey to be still so it can eat and digest them. That’s when the venom enters the picture; snakes use it to decrease the prey’s blood pressure.
Researchers were able to isolate a molecule called bradykinin potentiating factor from the Brazilian pit viper, which was eventually developed into the drug captopril. It was launched in 1975 and still has success in treating cardiac conditions.
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