They tested the effectiveness of a nasally administered antiparalytic drug, an antidote that can mitigate the effects of venom regardless of species, and the results have been promising.

In laboratory tests, a group of lab mice survived what would usually be a lethal dose of Indian cobra venom. 

Researchers said that in 2013 a female volunteer was also injected with a toxin that mimicked snake venom and recovered after receiving the nasal treatment.

“Antivenom is necessary, but not sufficient to manage this problem,” said Matthew Lewin, one of the researchers. “Its limitations are fairly well known at this point and we need a better bridge to survival. It’s ironic that virtually every medical organisation and practitioner wears the snake symbol, yet we have no real effective treatments for the people getting bitten. Ninety-eight percent of snakebite victims live in poverty, which is perhaps why funding and innovation are lacking. The bottom line is that no one should die from a snake bite in the twenty-first century, and we’re optimistic about this promising step.”

Snakebites can be a huge problem, with millions of people bitten every year.

The traditional treatment for snakebites is about 30 vials of antivenom. And even with antivenom, a patient can sometimes take months to recover.  

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