Medicine: Poison for Pain

A Cuban leper, his arm scarred and painfully ulcerated, was bitten by a poisonous tropical spider. Strangely enough, he felt no ill effects, and the searing pain in his arm diminished for several days. His doctor passed the remarkable news on to his colleagues and soon the Pasteur Institute in Paris began work on the use of animal poisons for relief of uncontrollable pain. That was ten years ago. Most practical poison to use, the French scientists discovered, is cobra venom, which is easy to extract, measure and inject. Fortnight ago, in The New...

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