The toxin works in a different way to Viagra or Cialis and could be used by patients who don't respond to those conventional treatments. The highly-venomous spider, also known as the banana spider, possesses a toxic mixture of several molecules. The side-effects of the toxin causes priapism
, a condition that causes erections lasting four hours.
Priapism however is often painful and is not associated with sexual desire but Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia, isolated the active toxin and fed the peptide called PnTx2-6 to rats that were erectile-challenged and had high blood pressure. The result, published in her Journal of Sexual Medicine study
, found the previously flaccid rats were very much perked-up and with no side effects, reports Discover
, a science blog.
Miss Nunes now wants to see if this toxin can also help female sexual dysfunction, reports the Daily Mail
The spider, whose scientific classification is Phoneutria nigriventer
, usually turns up in banana plantations in South America. Some of these spiders have found their way into supermarkets in the USA and Canada. One was discovered recently in a grocery store
in Manitoba, Canada.