Strip to identify snakebites developed
Thiruvananthapuram: Giving relief to the people who are prone to snakebite, scientists in Thiruvananthapuram Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) has developed a strip to speed up the treatment for snakebite. With this strip, doctors can identify the snake which has bitten the patient by testing one drop of blood within two minutes. According to reports, RGCB will hand over the strip to ministry of science and technology by the first week of December.
Dr R Radhakrishnan, medicine and molecular diagnostics scientist at RGCB and his team, developed the strip. This strip will be like a pregnancy test kit. The strip will display five lines. The first line is the strip control unit and the other four lines stand for the venom of each snake.
Venom of Cobra, Common Indian Krait (Vellikettan), Viper (Anali) and Hump-nosed pit viper (Rakthamandali) will be identified with the four lines. Excretion or blood drained from the wound of snakebite should be collected on the strip to identify the snake. If blood of a person bitten by cobra is taken on the strip, the line which stands for cobra will be displayed on the strip. The doctors can identify the snake within two minutes by using the strip. If the strip does not display any of the lines, then we can confirm that the patient is not exposed to snake venom.
“Once the snake is identified with the strip, doctors can administer monovalent antivenom which counters the particular snake venom to the patient. If the snake is not identified, polyvalent antivenom which functions against venom of all kinds of snakes should be administrated. But this will result in further complications like kidney failure,” said Dr Radhakrishnan.
The strip was developed after 3 years of long research and experiments. According to the team, only Rs 50 was spent to produce single strip at the laboratory. But the production cost will be low if it is produced on commercial basis.
The commercial production of the strip will begin once the union ministry of science and technology completes the examination of the strip and approves it. Companies approved by the ministry will produce the strip.
“The strip will be a major development in the field of toxicology,” said RGCB director Prof M Radhakrishna Pillai.
As per the records of World Health Organisation, over 49,000 snakebite deaths are occurring annually in India. Most of the people die due to cobra, viper, Common Indian Krait and Hump-nosed pit viper bites.