An Epi-Pen to treat a snakebite?
It’s still a distant dream, but a Californian chemist and Costa Rican venom expert are reporting progress in a novel effort to make injectable nanoparticles that can neutralize snake venom and can be carried in backpacks.
In a recent study in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, their particles protected mice against tissue damage from spitting-cobra venom without triggering allergic reactions.
In wealthy countries, snakes are an abiding threat to an unlucky few, among them hikers, ranch hands, soldiers, zookeepers and reptile collectors.
In the tropics of Africa, Asia and Latin America, however, they are a major cause of death and disability in rural areas: more than 2 million people are bitten each year. About 100,000 of them die, and another 400,000 are left with serious disabilities, including amputations or nerve damage so extensive that a leg or hand is permanently useless.