Friday, July 11, 2003

From Yahoo News
Black-Widow Spiders May Improve Sex Life - Chileans
Wed Jul 9, 3:43 PM ET
By Patrick Nixon
TEMUCO, Chile (Reuters) - Chilean researchers said on Wednesday they aimed to develop a new pill to combat impotence that would have the added bonus of being a male contraceptive, based on experiments with the venom of black-widow spiders.

The spider, famed for the female's tendency to eat her mate after sex, makes a poison that can produce muscular seizure, acceleration of the heart and even death.

The scientists, working at University La Frontera in the southern Chilean city of Temuco, have been studying the effects of the venom's various properties for the past seven years. By isolating these elements, they could reproduce them synthetically in drugs to strengthen weak hearts and help men with erectile dysfunction.

Last November, they discovered by accident that one ingredient in spider venom could not only facilitate male erection in a way similar to the popular Viagra pill, but also render sperm infertile.

"This new drug could help the functioning of the male erection without having to worry about the partner getting pregnant," Fernando Romero, director of the research project, told Reuters outside his lab filled with the dangerous spiders caught in southern Chile.

The feared black widow has earned its place in Chilean folklore. A womanizer is said to have been "bitten by a spider."

Romero said the contraceptive effects of the drug could last up to 20 minutes, depending on the dosage.

Romero and his team have won funding of $970,000 from the government and the university for three years of research, which they hope will end with a drug patent. Brazilian (news - web sites) experts and Chilean pharmaceutical company Laboratorio Silesia are also involved in the project.

Romero said they were aiming to eventually produce a drug that would have a similar effect as Viagra but without any potentially harmful side-effects such as an accelerated heart rate. He said they would isolate and eliminate the agents in the venom affecting the heart.

Viagra works by blocking an enzyme called PDE-5 that affects blood flow to the penis.

Several Chilean doctors contacted by Reuters were slightly skeptical of the project before seeing scientific results but in general welcomed the research.

"This is a good project with a solid scientific base. I think it is government money well spent," said Raul Vinet, a pharmacolgist from the University of Valparaiso.

I could only wonder how they are:
a) testing this
b) calculating and measuring its effectiveness

On the other hand, makes you wonder if Spider-man can get his pee-pee up. Maybe that's why He can't get it on with Mary Jane Parker... hmm...

Buti pa si Hulk. No need for spider-venom help.

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