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NOVA: Venom: Nature’s Killer

Airs Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Zoltan Takacs

Above: King cobra, the world's longest venomous snake, swallows a Plumbeous water snake.

Venom scientists are in a race against time. Inside the bodies of many creatures, evolution has produced extremely toxic cocktails, all designed for one reason: to kill.

Courtesy of Dr. Zoltan Takacs

Plumbeous water snake, a rear-fanged venomous snake. In general, its bite is not considered dangerous to humans, and its venom is less studied.

Spider Woman

In this interview, Maydianne Andrade explains the allure of her poisonous subjects, why spider research is important, and much more.

It took millions of years to perfect these ultimate brews of proteins and peptides, and we have only just begun to discover their potential. Now, the race is on to collect and study them before the animals that produce them disappear.

But how does venom do its deadly work? NOVA reveals how venom causes the body to shut down, arteries to bleed uncontrollably and limbs to go black and die.

But nature’s most destructive and extreme poisons could contain the building blocks for a new generation of advanced drugs that could treat heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

“Venom: Nature's Killer” follows two scientists on their expeditions to track down and capture the planet’s most deadly creatures, risking life and limb just to tease out milligrams of venom and get it back to the lab. Find out how nature’s deadliest cocktails could be medicine’s brightest new hope.

This program originally aired in 2011.

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This full episode is available for online viewing with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone or tablet. We offer Passport videos on ROKU! Activate your benefit now.

Preview: NOVA: Venom: Nature's Killer

“Venom” follows two scientists on their expeditions to track down and capture the planet’s most deadly creatures. Find out how nature’s deadliest cocktails could be medicine’s brightest new hope.

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