Nasal spray makes snake bites survivable

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A new nasal spray may give snake bite victims at shot at survival.

As many as 125,000 people die each year from from venomous snake bites. The challenge? Getting to a hospital in time to get a dose of anti-venom. Most victims die on the way.

Drugs used to treat snakebites aren’t easy to use in the wild. So researchers developed a nasal spray to deliver anti-venom drugs (anticholinesterase agents such as neostigmine.) They have been used for decades on snake bite victims, but the challenge is they have to be administered with a needle.

In April 2013, researchers from the California Academy of Sciences and the University of California, San Francisco tested delivery of the life saving medicine via nasal spray. In India a doctor has since successfully used the spray to reverse facial paralysis in a patient who had been bitten by a krait, a common venomous snake found in Indian and south Asian jungles. One bite from a krait has enough venom to kill two grown men.

The patient recovered from the facial paralysis in half an hour, and was back on their feet within two weeks.

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