Scientists say antivenom exists for only 60% of all the snakes in the world
New drugs for snakebite are desperately needed, say scientists, to replace the current 100-year-old treatment made by injecting snake’s venom into a horse and harvesting antibodies – which is very expensive, may not work and can cause lethal allergic reactions.
Snakebite, says the Wellcome Trust, is the cause of the world’s biggest hidden health crisis – and it is investing £80m in the hope of solving it. The World Health Organization will this month also launch a snakebite strategy aiming to halve deaths by 2030. Every five minutes, on average, 50 people are bitten by a snake. Between 81,000 and 138,000 people die from snakebite every year and about 400,000 are permanently disabled.