A group of scientists led by researchers from Trinity College Dublin and California have made a breakthrough in the development of a universal antidote for snakebite.
The scientific team examined the use of a nasally administered common hospital drug, neostigmine, on mice injected with high doses of Indian cobra venom.
The team is led by Dr Matthew Lewin, Director of the Center for Exploration and Travel Health at the California Academy of Sciences and Dr Stephen P. Samuel, a Visiting Research Fellow in the Nanomedicine and Molecular Imaging Group in the School of Medicine Trinity,
Snakes bite almost 5 million people each year with between 94,000 to 125,000 deaths occurring as a result.
According to statistics provided by Trinity College, global fatalities are up to 30 times that of land mines and in India alone snakes kill approximately a third as many people as AIDS and severely injure many more.
“This is the first promising step towards development of a universal antidote for snake bites. We urge global health leaders to accelerate the development of affordable, innovative treatments for snakebite,” said Dr Samuel.
The full paper is available online here: www.hindawi.com/journals/jtm/2014/131835/