Antivenom Kits for Use by the Public

The following story appear in the Times of India today, let’s hope the reference to venom really refers to anti-venom.

PUNE: The Pimpri-based Haffkine Bio-pharmaceutical Ltd, a state government undertaking, has developed an easy-to-use venom kit for reducing deaths caused due to snake bites, especially in rural areas.

The kit is useful for treating bites of four most poisonous snakes - the common cobra, Russel's viper, Common Krait (Manyar) and saw scaled viper (Ghonas/Furse).

Prakash Sabde, managing director of Haffkine Bio-pharmaceutical Ltd, said, "It is difficult to get treatment for snakebite in villages. This kit is easy to use and can be administered by a nurse or an attendant at government rural hospitals. The venom kit gives sufficient time for the victim to be rushed to a bigger hospital for treatment, if necessary. This increases chances of a patient's survival."

Manager and public relations officer Navnath Garje said, "The kit contains vials of venom that need to be injected after the bite. It also includes posters and a booklet containing instructions on how to use the kit and treat the patient besides giving answers to most common misconceptions about snakebites and its cure. The venom in the kit has a shelf life of four and a half years."

Garje said the company will hold discussions with the Pune branch of the Indian Medical Association for approaching doctors and creating awareness about the kit. They would also set up stalls in Konkan where snakebite cases are high.

Garje said that people in villages either go to quacks or use crude methods for treatment which results in loss of valuable time and eventually death. "It is necessary they get proper treatment on time."

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