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New antivenom could be a gamechanger in treatment of snakebites

Researchers from IIT Delhi, along with their counterparts from San Jose State University, USA, have developed a new anti-venom which is being regarded as the miracle drug in the cure of snakebites. The current record of snakebite mortality is 90 deaths per month. Yet, factors such as cost and storage of antivenin make the treatment of snakebites a challenge. The usual antivenin available can only be used to treat bites of species like Russell’s viper, saw-scaled viper, Indian cobra and common krait. Professor Anurag S Rathod of IIT Delhi mentioned that the currently available antivenom solutions are “made by injecting horses with snake venom and using their blood serum. But the problem with this approach is that the serum is not very stable and also it is specific to the snake venom used.” In contrast, the peptide developed by the IIT Delhi team” can be used for several kinds of snake bites compared to the present ones including Russell’s viper, saw-scaled viper, Indian cobra and common krait”. The Lethal Toxin Neutralising Factor (LTNF) based treatment, currently under testing, took two years to develop by the IIT Delhi and San Jose State University teams, within a budget of less than 7 million INR. The peptide-based antivenin is more stable than the currently available ones and will cost considerably less, along with being easy to storage and handle, and thus be easily available to all.

 

— As reported by Mongabay

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