COUNCIL CHRONICLE – A new study is aiming to improve a person or animal’s survival chances after being bitten by a rattlesnake not by replacing antivenom, but by ensuring that they actually have the chance to use this.
Dr. Vance Nielsen, of the University of Arizona’s Department of Anesthesiology and College of Medicine, is behind this new study. He is hoping to develop an option that could someday be used similarly to an EpiPen.
Delaying the Effects of a Rattlesnake Bite
Dr. Nielsen explains that snake venom usually affects the nervous system. It also interferes with the normal blood functions. Namely, venom can cause excessive bleeding or anticoagulation. It might also cause coagulation or clotting, which might, in its turn, lead to heart attacks or strokes.
For this new study, the researchers looked precisely at these effects of a rattlesnake bite.
“There’s a gigantic body of literature about how carbon monoxide can make things better or worse in human medicine. I was looking at the coagulation angle of it,” states Dr. Nielsen.
Namely, the study is analyzing the efficiency of, for example, injecting carbon monoxide to try and block the effects of the venom.
According to reports, the therapy, which is currently still in the works, has already been tested on 36 different types of venom. In doing so, it was proven useful in stopping this from reacting with either human or animal plasma.
Dr. Nielsen states that the next step in his research will be to try and find a quick, fast, and safe administration method. He proposes one that either works by directly injecting it into the bitten area, or perhaps functions similarly to an EpiPen.
Research will also have to establish whether the effects of this therapy can last for longer than an hour. Still, the scientist is warning that this is not a new type of cure or an antivenom replacement. Rather, it should work to ensure that those affected actually get the chance to receive an antivenom treatment and that they are less affected by the rattlesnake bite.
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