Brazilian Wandering Spider Venom Could Be the New Viagra

Brazilian Wandering SpiderPhoto: João P. Burini

This fuzzy little fellow doesn’t look like someone who would be helpful in the bedroom, but in fact he just might be one day. A single bite of the highly venomous Brazilian Wandering Spider causes numerous, excruciatingly unpleasant side effects – including a four-hour erection.

Brazilian Wandering SpiderPhoto: techuser

‘The venom of the Phoneutria nigriventer spider is a very rich mixture of several molecules,’ said Dr Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia. ‘These molecules are called toxins, and then we have various toxins in this venom with different activity.’

‘Because of this, when a human is bitten by this spider, we can observe many different symptoms including priapism, a condition in which the penis is continually erect.’

ViagraPhoto: Toshiyuki IMAI

Now if you come across this spider in a bunch of bananas somewhere, do not try to find out how it works: the venom can kill you as well – and these are not pleasant erections. However, some the different molecules in the venom may provide a treatment for erectile dysfunction when used medically.

Dr. Nunes said: ‘We found the toxin responsible [for the erections] and performed experiments using hypertensive rats which have severe erectile dysfunction. The toxin was able to normalise the erectile dysfunction in these animals.’

The toxin works in a different way to Viagra, which could be good for patients who cannot take the popularly prescribed drug and for those it does not work on. Again, if you come across this spider, do not attempt to see if it works. You won’t like the results, which include breathing problems, paralysis and eventual asphyxiation.

Sources: 1 2

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