Scientists think that venom from a deadly spider could be the key to helping the millions of men who live with erectile dysfunction.
The Brazilian Wandering Spider, also known also known as a Banana Spider or Armed Spider, has a bite that can kill, but experts in Brazil now say that the deadly venom could actually have a very helpful use.
The spiders are known for having venom that causes four-hour long erections in men before they eventually die - and it's these chemicals that scientists reckon could result in a treatment more effective than Viagra.
Scientists created an artificial and refined form of the toxins and put it into a topical gel, which in trials on rodents has been shown to still lead to long-lasting erections without all the dying at the end. Happy days.
The team at Federal University of Minas Gerais were able to produce a synthetic toxin and applied it to mice and rats with erectile dysfunction. The gel gave the animals swelling to the penis that lasted 'about 60 minutes'.
According to the study, the gel was found to have 'effects over and above' Viagra when used in combination. And better still, the early studies also found no signs of discomfort or pain.
In an article for the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the study's authors wrote: "Without any stimulation, a swelling of the penis lasting about 60 minutes was seen 20 minutes later.
"This result suggests that it is able to induce erection, independently of sexual stimulation."
The study concluded that the gel 'may emerge as a potent new drug that can be topically administered, becoming a promising alternative for erectile dysfunction treatment'.
Study lead Professor Maria Elena de Lima, told the Sun: "We believe it could fill an enormous gap in the market and help millions of people worldwide."
Consultant urologist Prof Raj Persad told the paper: "If this 'potion' is a potent as described.
"It could be an excellent second line therapy after failed tablet therapy with Viagra-type compounds."
If it proves to work on humans the new drug could help the millions of men who have erectile dysfunction but who aren't able to take sildenafil (the medicine that's sold under the brand name Viagra) because of high blood pressure, diabetes or other health concerns.
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