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Thread: India needs region specific anti-venom for snakebites

  1. #1
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    New Delhi
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    Default India needs region specific anti-venom for snakebites

    Here is why India needs specific anti-venom for snakebites in different regions
    By Dr. Aditi Jain

    New Delhi, May 23 (India Science Wire): Snakebite, which is a neglected public health concern,
    causes nearly 50,000 deaths in India every year. Four snake varieties - Indian Cobra, Russel’s
    viper, saw-scaled viper and Indian common krait are mostly responsible for most snakebite
    deaths. The currently available anti-venoms are effective for treating people bitten by these
    snakes. But venom composition of snakes varies across geography and there is a need to study
    venom of snakes from different regions to help make region-specific anti-venoms.

    Now a new study by scientists from Tezpur University in Assam has cautioned that commonly
    used anti-venoms are not effective in the case of South Indian kraits. The researchers have
    profiled the venom from kraits found in South India and found that it had some noxious
    proteins which commonly used anti-venoms do not recognize and neutralize.

    Indian common krait (B. caeruleus) is one of the medically important venomous snakes in the
    subcontinent and accounts for a large number of snakebite deaths and illness.

    “Determination of the composition of venom of a specific species of snake at a particular
    geographical location is necessary for a better understanding of the variation in venom
    composition and its correlation with symptoms of snakebite as well for designing region-
    specific anti-venoms,” explained Dr. Ashis K. Mukherjee, leader of the research team, while
    speaking to India Science Wire.

    For this study, the scientists used venom pooled from four krait snakes of South India. They
    found that it had 57 large and small proteins. The neurotoxic effect of the venom was due to
    two large proteins – beta-bungarotoxin, and κ-bungarotoxin. The scientists also found that
    South India Krait has cytotoxins in its venom, which is absent in kraits from Sri Lanka, which
    again emphasizes that venom composition differs with geographical location.

    The researchers then tested the ability of commercial anti-venoms to neutralize the large and
    small proteins in the venom. They found that although antivenins were able to bind and
    neutralize larger proteins, they were unable to do so with smaller proteins like phospholipase
    A2 (PLA2) and three finger toxins (3FTxs), which are present in copious amounts (up to 85%) in
    South India Krait venom.

    “This insight will help anti-venom manufacturers to re-design their production facilities to come
    up with anti-venom for against South Indian Krait. We are already working in collaboration with
    an anti-venom manufacturing company,” added Dr. Mukherjee who has worked on this subject
    for 25 years.

    The team has published its findings in the journal Expert Review in Proteomics. The team
    included Aparup Patra and Abhishek Chanda, apart from Dr. Mukherjee.
    (India Science Wire)
    (This is a syndicated feed and hasn't been changed except for the headlines)

  2. #2
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    Salt Lake, Kolkata
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    Most of the snake bite cases in West Bengal have been due to Common Krait (Bungarus caeruleus). Its venom consists mostly of powerful neurotoxins, which induce muscle paralysis. Other venomous snake bites are from Russel's Viper (Haemotoxic) and Cobra (Neurotoxic) both monocled (Nana Kouthia) and spectacled (Naja Naja). Saw-scaled Viper is not found in the state.
    Previously Anti Snake Venom Serum (ASVS) was produced in Kolkata, now production is suspended for quite some time
    and ASVS is being procured from South India.
    The major problem is that ASVS produced from venom of Spectacled Cobra of South India is not that effective to neutralise venom of Monocled Cobra (though both are neurotoxic) and the same problem arising in respect of Common Krait also.
    Toxicity of venom of the same species of venomous snake varies with the place of inhabitance. The effectiveness of ASVS can be improved if the venom extraction and processing centres are located at a distance of say, 500 - 800 km. This will save lives of a few thousand people in India per year.
    Kind regards,
    Last edited by Saktipada Panigrahi; 12-09-2019 at 12:43 PM.

  3. #3
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    Salt Lake, Kolkata
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    The discussion on 'Life and Death' issue arising from variation of toxicity of venom of snakes of same four highly venomous species belonging to different regions and necessity of setting up of Anti Snake Venom Serum (ASVS) producing centres on regional basis have been initiated in our forum by Shri Sabyasachi in May, 2019.
    It is being noticed in West Bengal that ASVS produed from snake venom collected in South India is not that effective in cases of Russell's Viper bites in particular and possibly Naja Kaoutia bites. Even after timely and adequate doses of ASVS administration desired results could not be found in some cases. Even if life is saved, damage to kidney or liver is observed in a few.
    The issue is serious and setting up of regional Anti Snake Venom Serum (ASVS) production facilities should be given top priority.

    Last edited by Saktipada Panigrahi; 08-11-2019 at 07:48 AM.

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