Regional News

Anti-snake venom vaccine produced locally

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Karachi: A young Scientist Dr Saud Farooq Qaim Khani said our team produced anti- snake venom to treat the victims of snake-bite in the country which was comparatively cost effective and useful for treatment snakebite victims in compared with other international snakebites drugs. He is the Production & Validation Officer of Sindh Anti-Snake Venom team.

Talking during the three-day Sindh Health & Nutrition Festival  at Shaheed Benazir Cultural Complex Mithi, Tharkhar, said snake bites are common in interior of Sindh and some parts of Southern Punjab areas, but such cases are increased during the rainy season and floods. He said rural population and agricultural workers are most at risk.

Keeping situation in mind, team of two scientists  Dr Saud Qaim Khani and Zahoor Ahmed Khoso in coordination two consultant professor, director and deputy director Sindh Anti-Snake Venom has produced anti- snake venom after five year research at Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam. He said luckily World Health Organization (WHO) had approved the anti-snake venom produced locally in Sindh province and clinical trial of vaccine is in its final phase. He hoped that anti-snake venom would be available in local markets soon.

Dr Saud said anti-snake venom was manufactured with horse blood and comparatively most effective for snakebite cases reported from Pakistan. He said Pakistan imports anti-snake vaccine from neighboring country India to treat snakebites cases but this vaccine was not effective in the country due to environmental and geographical differences. He said anti-snake venom will be first qualified vaccine produced locally for snakebite cases.   

Dr Qasim Khani said although Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad manufactured anti-snake vaccine but they are using outdated technology which was not effective, while this new anti-snake venom produce as per standard of WHO in Sindh and vaccine will be available between 500 to 700 prices soon. He said Indian-made anti-snake vaccine for snakebites cases is available in Rs 1500 in the country but this vaccine not effective in the country owing to environmental reasons.

He said snakebites victims generally face two kinds of effects neurological and hematological but our team manufactured two separate kinds of anti-snake venoms to treats both kind of patients through vaccine. For example, kraite( Bungarus sindanus)  snake  neurologically effects the victims, while Russell’s  viper and viper commonly hits person hematological system. He informed that the new 10ml anti-snake vials effective for victim.

According to World Health Organization 250,000 snakebites cases are reported in India every year, while around 50,000 people become victim of snakebite in Pakistan annually, out of which 25000 to 30,000 are reported from Sindh province.

Project Director Sindh Anti-Snake Venom Dr Naeem Qureshi said 75 percent snakes are not poisonous and revealed that majority of people dies from fear which called psychological death. He said lack of education and awareness increases problems related with snakebites.

He said most common snakes in Sindh are Krait (Bungarus sindanus), Naja Naja (Cobra), Russell’s viper and others. He said unnecessary killing of snakes has puts bad impacts on natural environments therefore people should be educated in this regard.

April 15, 2015

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