Snakebite management: Meet discusses challenges in anti-venom treatment

Dignitaries at the national symposium on ‘Challenges of snakebite management’ in Mysuru on Monday.

Dignitaries at the national symposium on ‘Challenges of snakebite management’ in Mysuru on Monday.  

‘Polyvalent anti-snake venom suggested by Medical Council of India has side effects’

A two-day national symposium on ‘Challenges in Snakebite Management’ began here on Monday with Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore Hemanth Kumar calling for solutions to the deficiencies faced by medical practitioners in efficacy of anti-venom administered to victims.

Participating in the inaugural session of the symposium at Vijnana Bhavan in Manasagangothri, Dr. Kumar attributed the deficiencies in anti-venom to a variety of reasons, including variations in venom compositions among different species of snakes.

Regional variations among Indian venomous snakes exist due to diverse ecosystem, he said and added that more research was needed diagnose the species of biting snakes so that appropriate treatment is administered to the victims.

Also, Dr. Kumar pointed out that the polyvalent anti-snake venom recommended by the Medical Council of India causes severe reactions and side effects.

Dr. Kumar also hailed Veerabasappa Gowda from the Department of Biochemistry in the University of Mysore for initiating research on snake venoms. So far, about 100 students had obtained doctorates in different aspects of snake venoms from the university and most of them had completed their research under Dr. Gowda’s guidance, he said.

Earlier, Joseph K. Joseph, chief physician and nephrologist at the Little Flower Hospital and Research Centre in Kerala, emphasised the need to act fast after snake bites to reduce mortality rate.

He also said there was a need for people to shun non-medical practices like faith healing for snake bite victims. “They should understand that there is only one form of treatment — anti-venom. It is assisted by ventilation and respiratory support,” he said.

Kartik Sunagar from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, in his presentation on ‘Beyond the big four’, said venom profiling of the medically important yet neglected Indian snakes reveals disturbing anti-venom deficiencies.

He pointed out that snakebite in India caused the highest annual rates of death at 46,000 and disability at 1,40,000 than any other country.


A documentary titled “The dead don’t talk” on the snakebite burden in India was also screened on the occasion.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 5:40:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/snakebite-management-meet-discusses-challenges-in-anti-venom-treatment/article30323195.ece

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