Science and Technology
publicado em 01/08/2013 às 10h54:00
   Dê o seu voto:

New snakebite treatment that could potentially save tens of thousands of lives

An antiparalytic, heat-resistant nasal spray and within 20 minutes the patient paralyzed by snakebit had recovered.

 
font size
A-
A+
Foto: Naved Alam/Reptárium
Cobra Krait, da espécie Bungarus caeruleus. Picada de cobra é uma das principais causas de morte no mundo ocidental em desenvolvimento
  « Previous
next »  
Cobra Krait, da espécie Bungarus caeruleus. Picada de cobra é uma das principais causas de morte no mundo ocidental em desenvolvimento

Necessity is the mother of invention, and Academy researcher Matt Lewin saw a need in saving hundreds of thousands of lives lost to venomous snakebites, currently estimated to be as high as 125,000 per year. So Lewin invented!

Snakebite is one of the most neglected of tropical diseases: the number of fatalities is comparable to that of AIDS in some developing countries. It has been estimated that 75% of snakebite victims who die never even reach the hospital, predominantly because there is no easy way to treat them in the field.

"Snakebite is a leading cause of accidental death in the developing world, especially among otherwise healthy young people," says Lewin. "We are trying to change the way people think about this ancient scourge and persistent modern tragedy by developing an inexpensive, heat-stable, easy-to-use treatment that will at least buy people enough time to get to the hospital for further treatment."

Life-threatening snakebites are often treated in two different waysthrough antivenoms or antiparalytics. Antivenoms provide an imperfect solution for a number of reasonseven if the snake has been identified and the corresponding antivenom exists, venomous bites often occur in remote locations far from population centers. Antivenoms are also expensive, require refrigeration, and demand significant expertise to administer and manage.

In some fatal snakebites, the snake's neurotoxins paralyze victims, resulting in death by respiratory failure. For decades, medical workers have administered intravenous antiparalytics to treat snakebite when antivenoms are either not available or not effective. However, it is difficult to administer intravenous drugs outside of a hospital.

Lewin began to explore the idea of a different delivery vehicle for these antiparalytics when he was preparing snakebite treatment kits for the Academy's Philippine Biodiversity Expedition. In his role as Director of the Academy's Center for Exploration and Travel Health, Lewin prepares field medicine kits for the museum's global scientific expeditions and often accompanies scientists as the expedition doctor.

The snakebite kits required scientists to inject themselves if they needed treatment. When Lewin saw their apprehension about the protocol, he began to wonder if there might be an easier way to treat snakebite in the field.

In April of this year, Lewin, also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF, worked with a team of anesthesiologists at the UCSF Medical Center to design and complete a complex experiment that took place at the medical center. During the experiment, a healthy human volunteer was paralyzed, while awake, using a toxin that mimics that of cobras and other snakes that disable their victims by paralysis. The team then administered an antiparalytic, heat-resistant nasal spray and within 20 minutes the patient had recovered.

Later in April, Lewin delivered a keynote address, titled "How Expeditions Drive Clinical Research," at the American Society for Clinical Investigation/Association of American Physicians joint meeting, during which he talked about this experiment and its origins. As a result, he met Stephen Samuel, an Indian physician and scientist from Trinity College Dublin who was interested in collaborating in India, where an estimated one million people are bitten by snakes every year, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. Lewin flew to India to help Samuel set up treatment protocols at a rural hospital in Krishnagiri.

In late June, Samuel and his colleagues at TCR Multispeciality Hospital in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India, treated a snakebite victim using the nasal spray method. The patient was suffering from persistent facial paralysis from a krait bite, despite having undergone a full course of antivenom treatment. Upon treatment with the antiparalytic nasal spray, the facial paralysis was reversed within 30 minutes. Two weeks after being treated, the patient reported having returned to her daily activities.

Source: Isaude.net
  • Share this pageShare this page
  • Share this pageCorrect
  • ShareShare
  • AlertAlert
Reduced link: 
  • You are recommending this story: New snakebite treatment that could potentially save tens of thousands of lives
  • Fill in the following form to send your recommendation to your friend:

  • You are suggesting a correction for this story: New snakebite treatment that could potentially save tens of thousands of lives


Receba notícias do iSaúde no seu e-mail de acordo com os assuntos de seu interesse.
Seu nome:
Seu email:
Desejo receber um alerta com estes assuntos:
nasal spray to snakebite    Snakebite    heat-resistant nasal spray    nasal spray    nasal spray to snakebite    Matt Lewin   
Comments:
Comment
Leave your comment
Close
(Required fields are marked with an *)

(Your email address will never be published or shared.)

Enter the letters and numbers below and click in the button "send"

  • Twitter iSaúde
advertising
Informe Saúde printed version

Recommend the portal
Close [X]
  • You are recommending this story: http://www.isaude.net
  • Fill in the following form to send your recommendation to your friend:

RSS news from the portal  iSaúde.net
Get the newsletter of the portal  iSaúde.net
Recommend the portal iSaúde.net
News from  iSaúde.net in your blog or website.
Get news on the subject of your interest.
© 2000-2011 www.isaude.net Todos os direitos reservados.