New Delhi: According to a study conducted by naturalists, snake bites kill Mora than 45,000 people in India every year and around two lakh people lose their limbs after being bitten by snakes. Each species of snake has unique venom containing a cocktail of toxins, requiring specific antibodies to neutralise. Even a single species can cause paralysis, blood disorders and tissue damage in varying proportions in different parts of its range.
And then matters are only made worse by superstition, ignorance and sheer apathy. The most effective treatment for snakebite, anti-venom, is still made in the same way as it was when invented in the 19th century, by extracting blood plasma containing antibodies from animals injected with diluted snake venom. It can, therefore, only effectively neutralise toxins present in the venom mixture used in the immunisation process. Yet, all anti-venom in India is currently manufactured predominantly using venom obtained from a single licensed producer.