Low dose of snake antivenom effective: Research

CHITWAN: Comparatively low dose of snake antivenom is proved to be effective in Nepal.

A research conducted jointly by the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences and senior physicians Dr Bijaya Poudel, Dr Kalidas Adhikari, Prof Dr Sanjib Sharma and Dr Chhabilal Thapa at Bharatpur Hospital confirmed that only 30 antivenom phials were required during a research to cure snake bite cases against 165 phials required each for the same case earlier.

Assisted by University of Geneva in Switzerland, the research was conducted for two years at Bharatpur Hospital in Chitwan, Military Camp in Jhapa's Charali and Red Cross Office in Damak, said Dr Poudel.

The research also studied treatment method for snakebite cases and different types of snakes.

The research is expected to help address the perennial scarcity of snake antivenom in the country and save thousands of rupees spent on purchasing the serum every year. It costs around Rs 2000 for a phial of snake antivenom in the market.

According to a study, Nepal is a home to 89 different types of snakes, of them eight to be poisonous. Out of approximately 20,000 people who are bitten by snakes every year, around 1,000 succumb. Bharatpur Hospital receives 400 to 500 snakebite patients every year, said Dr Poudel.

Effects of snake venom start exhibiting between five minutes to 24 hours of the bite and life of the patient can be saved if taken the treatment on time, he said.