By Christie Wilcox
This article from sciencenews.org is about people dying in poor places like Nigeria from snake bites. It talks how In sub-Saharan Africa, about 270,000 people are bitten every year, resulting in more than 55,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, over 14,700 amputations and about 12,300 deaths. The cause of these deaths is that care for these bites can not happen right away. Most deaths could be prevented by antivenom that is given to the victim within 1-2 hours, but most of these people live far from the places that have the antivenom. Also the antivenom is costly, “antivenom is one of the most expensive drugs that you can find in the rural areas,” explains Muhammad Hamza a vial of antivenom costs around $60 to $70 and sometimes it takes as many as 10 vials costing 700$ so a lot of poor people have to sell their homes and livestock to afford it. But researchers have come up with a solution for both these things. They are trying to make antivenom cheaper by having engineered bacteria in large fermentation tanks produce it. This would drop the cost down and make it more efficient. They are also trying to make a pill that can slow the spread of the venom giving victims a longer time to get treatment.
I think that this is very important research. If this is complete and it works then it can save thousands of lives. By making engineered bacteria in large fermentation tanks produce antivenom they will lower the cost making it so poor people will not have to sell their livestock and homes to afford it. Also the pill will help people that can’t get care fast enough survive.