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Snakebite Challenges in India: Antivenom Innovations



  Nov 22, 2023

Snakebite Prevention and Treatment in India



Snakebite is a pressing issue in India, with an estimated 58,000 people succumbing to snakebites annually, and many left with permanent disabilities. Despite the availability of antivenom, misuse of snake venom as a recreational drug has surfaced as a concern.

Outdated Antivenom Manufacturing Protocols

Manufacturing antivenom in India has followed the same protocols for over a century, resulting in low efficacy. Antivenom is produced by isolating antibodies from horses injected with venom from the ‘big four’ snakes. These antibodies sometimes prove insufficient and can lead to complications in patients.

Challenges in Developing Improved Antivenom

Developing more effective antivenom has been challenging due to the complexity of snake venoms. Each snake species has variations in venom composition, making it difficult to create a universal antivenom. Furthermore, snakebites primarily affect rural populations, resulting in limited investment in research and development.

Regional Antivenoms and Community Awareness

Addressing this issue requires the development of regional antivenoms targeting the snakes prevalent in specific areas. However, private companies produce antivenom based on demand, which has been low for non-‘big four’ species. Community awareness and timely medical care are crucial, as even less effective antivenom can be effective if administered promptly.

Improving Rural Healthcare

Rural healthcare in India faces challenges, with understaffed primary health centers (PHCs) and limited access to medical facilities. Ensuring 24x7 care, trained medical staff, and timely transportation to hospitals are essential to improving outcomes for snakebite victims.

Government Initiatives

The Indian government has shown positive signs of addressing the snakebite issue. Efforts include developing a national-level snakebite prevention and control strategy and recognizing snake-human conflict as a significant concern.

In conclusion, addressing the challenges of snakebite prevention and treatment in India requires modernizing antivenom manufacturing, developing regional antivenoms, raising community awareness, and improving rural healthcare infrastructure. Collaboration between experts and efficient government policies are essential to making meaningful progress in this area.

SRIRAM’s


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