CNN’s ‘Vital Signs’ explores the healing powers of venom-derived medicine

HONG KONG, Nov. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — This month on CNN’s ‘Vital Signs’, Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explores the world of snake venom and toxin-derived medicine, and learns how some of nature’s deadliest creatures are helping to save lives. As we have seen with the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic when a virus jumped from animals to humans, understanding the relationship between the two is only going to become more critical.

CNN’s ‘Vital Signs’ explores the healing powers of venom-derived medicine
CNN’s ‘Vital Signs’ explores the healing powers of venom-derived medicine

Deep in the heart of Vietnam, scientist and adventurer Zoltan Takacs is looking for what most of us would rather not find: the green pit viper snake. He explains how the venom from creatures like this is a goldmine for medicine. Dr. Gupta learns how Takacs and his partners created a toxin library, where researchers can see what toxins work best together and replicate them in a lab to create highly-selective treatments. 

CNN then speaks with world-renowned toxin biologist Professor Manjunatha Kini from the National University of Singapore, whose lab works to identify the individual molecules that make up any one venom. His research has helped him isolate and identify toxins which can be used to potentially develop drugs for various disorders.

CNN also hears from San Francisco-based geneticist Sekar Seshagiri, who reveals that obtaining the genetic blueprint of a snake is key to creating a defined anti-venom. Seshagiri and his partners accomplished what is now considered the most complete snake genome ever assembled. Dr. Gupta learns how this information could be used to create a specific anti-venom to treat snake bites, a significant health issue in many parts of the world.

Finally, ‘Vital Signs’ meets Dr. Sandeep Nathan from University of Chicago Medicine, who has been treating cardiology patients with venom-derived medication for years. Dr. Nathan discusses its use and its importance in the future of drug development.

Vital Signs trailer:    
Vital Signs images: 
Vital Signs microsite: 

Airtimes for 30-minute special:

Sunday, November 8 at 12:00am, 4:00am, 2:00pm and 7:00pm HKT
Monday, November 9 at 1:00am and 12:00pm HKT
Saturday, November 14 at 2:30pm HKT
Monday, November 16 at 5:30am HKT

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