Science Bites Back

Snakebites kill up to 138,000 people every year and some 400,000 suffer paralysis, heart failure and other effects. And while antivenom treatment—which has changed little in 123 years—can prevent death, it also can cause side-effects including anaphylactic shock. 

Finally science is catching up, SciDev.Net reports. New approaches include nanoparticles, small molecule therapeutics and cloned human antibodies.  

Thinking big, Nicholas Casewell of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine wants global antivenoms that don’t depend on the particular snake that bites you, but on the effect the toxins have on the body. 

SciDev also dives into Pakistan’s successful antivenom production and treatment efforts. And, be sure to avoid the recently discovered hump-nosed pit viper. No antivenom for it exists on the market.

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