A better snake bite treatment

Published May 10, 2020

Normally if you’re bit­ten by a snake, you’re either rushed to the hos­pi­tal for a dose of antivenin, or left in the desert to die, depend­ing on what kind of movie you’re in.

That’s great news for the mak­ers of antivenins, which can charge thou­sands of dol­lars per dose, but maybe not so great for the peo­ple who got bit.

 

But now sci­en­tists at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine say they have a bet­ter treat­ment: dimer­caprol, a drug used to treat mer­cury poi­son­ing (and a deriv­a­tive called DMPS). It may not elim­i­nate the need for an anti-ven­om treat­ment, but, giv­en oral­ly after a snake bite, it can save a life and reduce the need to rush to a hospital.

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