The number that die is set to reduce significantly thanks to a new antivenom developed by CSIRO.
Thankfully the number of people who die from snake bites has significantly reduced over the past few decades as medical expertise has advanced and antivenoms are more readily available.
Our pets however are still at risk as treatments can be expensive and not as effective as they could be.
CSIRO scientists worked with Padula Serums Pty Ltd, a small biotech company in regional Victoria to produce an antivenom to treat Eastern Brown and Tiger snake bites.
Dr Andrew Padula of Padula Serums said that working with CSIRO helped turn his idea into a reality.
“I’ve been working on antivenom serums for dogs and cats for a while now but I really needed the expert equipment and skills of the CSIRO scientists to make the best product possible,” Dr Padula said.
Prof George Lovrecz from CSIRO’s manufacturing team explains that this new process is much more effective that those currently on the market because it is distilled and concentrated to create a pure, fully-tested antivenom which is ready to be injected into snake-bitten dogs.
“We used the latest technologies to make sure that the anti-venom is not only safe and effective but it’s also a lot cheaper to produce compared to existing products,” Prof Lovrecz said.
With this more effective and lower cost product, more dogs will be able to be saved from deadly snake bites.
Once final testing has been completed and the antivenom has been given approval for sale from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority it will be available on the market and stocked by vets around the country.
This new treatment could also have applications for treating humans for snake bites or against the toxins of paralysing ticks and CSIRO scientists are also researching the possibility of using a similar approach to treat other viruses like Ebola.
CSIRO is looking to partner with other biomedical companies to explore these applications further.
Small business looking to access research capability from CSIRO or other Australian research institutions, might be eligible for a grant through CSIRO’s SMEconnect team.