Brazilian Arrowhead Vipers & Medicine
The Brazilian Arrowhead Viper is a dangerous snake, yet also happens to be one of the most important to scientists due to its venom. During tests on its venom, scientists found a molecule they called the “bradykinin” potentiating factor from the venom and found that it was related to a class of molecules that stop angiotensin-converting enzymes from blocking bradykinin. Of course, bradykinins are proteins that cause blood vessels to dilate and lower blood pressure. In the wild, it would be useful for a snake to have venom like this as it could slow down the animal. In our case, this venom helped to develop one of the first ACE inhibitors, which treats hypertension and congestive heart failure.