Snake anti-venom needed
Should you have any plans to be bitten by a venomous snake then it is best you do so before next year. Reason? Well, according to a report issued on Monday, Sept. 7 by Doctors Without Borders the planet’s supply of Fav-Afrique anti-venom is due to run out in June of 2016.
The French company Sanofi Pasteur stopped making the anti-venom last year and there is no other company currently making a proven effective anti-venom. There is a company expected to have an effective one on the market in two years – that’s an optimistic prediction – but that time-frame still leaves a dangerous period without any.
Sanofi Pasteur, which continues to produce many other vaccines for illnesses such as smallpox, said it left the anti-venom market because it was driven out by cheaper products that have never been proven to work well enough. The company has said it is willing to share the technology of their vaccine with other companies.
The vaccine can cost between $250 to $500, a price too high for most in developing countries. More often governments and charities provide subsidies so the anti-venom vaccine can be obtained for those in need.
Millions bitten yearly
Many thousands of people, in particular in developing countries, could die if the world indeed runs out of anti-venom. As it stands some reports say as many as 5 million people in the world are bitten yearly. Doctors Without Borders has a snake-bite expert, Dr. Gabriel Alcoba, and he told media the world is “now facing a real crisis.”
Digital Journal writer Karen Graham notes snakes are a major cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa.
“In this region of the world, 30,000 people die of snake bites each year and another 8,000 or more lose a limb after being bitten by a snake,” Graham writes. “Worldwide, close to 5 million people are bitten by snakes every year, with about 100,000 lives being lost. An additional 300,000 or more end up amputees or with other disabilities.”
Among the more deadly snakes in Sub-Saharan Africa are the Puff Adder, which can kill within a day, the Black Mamba, which is not actually black but which can kill a dozen people in an hour, the Boomslang, which causes every orifice the victim has to bleed uncontrollably until death, and various species of vipers and cobras.
In Australia the Eastern Brown Snake is particularly deadly while in the U.S. various species of rattlesnakes and copperheads are among the deadliest. Of the 3,000 plus species of snakes on the planet, the bites of about 15 percent are dangerous to humans.
So best to hurry or…stay away from ve