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Alpha-cobratoxin as a possible therapy for multiple sclerosis: a review of the literature leading to its development for this application.


The use of snake venom in the treatment of multiple sclerosis has been, at best, controversial. The anecdotal reports for snake venom's beneficial effects in this condition may be supportable now by recent scientific evidence. Cobratoxin, a neurotoxin obtained from the venom of the Thailand cobra, has demonstrated several pharmacological activities that strongly support its use in this application. By employing a chemical detoxification step, the neurotoxin can be rendered safe for administration to humans with minimal side effects. This modified neurotoxin has demonstrated neuromodulatory, antiviral, and analgesic activity, elements associated with the multiple sclerosis condition. Modified cobratoxin has demonstrated potent immunosuppressive activity in acute and chronic animal models of the disease. The drug is under investigation for use in adrenomyeloneuropathy and clinical trials in Multiple sclerosis are planned.