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UC Irvine Researchers Develop Gel To Neutralize Snakebites

Marko Knuutila / Flickr
 

Marko Knuutila / Flickr

An estimated 8,000 people will be bitten by a venomous snake this year in the U.S. Two California researchers have developed a new way to treat those bites.

University of California Irvine Chemistry professor Ken Shea and Ph.D. student Jeff O’Brien have created a gel that neutralizes venom from a snake bite.

O'Brien says the antivenin also shows promise in treating humans and animals who have been bitten by scorpions and spiders.

“It potentially will allow for someone to carry it around even if they have not been bitten by a snake just in case they see one it’s more of a preventative type medicine as well as something that could be efficacious in neutralizing the venom,” O'Brien says.

O'Brien says the ultimate goal is to create one antivenin that can treat all snake bites.

He says their antivenin costs pennies compared to what's available now for snake bites. That medication costs more than $2,000 dollars per vial.