Tucson Living: Future snake bite treatment - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Tucson Living: Future snake bite treatment

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Researchers at the University of Arizona are developing a medication that will delay the effects of venomous snake bites.

A mixture of carbon monoxide and iron has been shown to inhibit the the effects for up to an hour in animals. Dr. Vance Nielsen is the Vice Chair of Research at the University of Arizona Department of Anesthesiology.

Dr. Nielsen said that the goal is to be able to manufacture an "EpiPen" that can be easily carried as part of a first aid kit. The medication has been found to work against the venom of three dozen species of snakes. 

Captain Andy Skaggs of the Tucson Fire Department said that right now first responders are not equipped with any kind of anti-venom or treatment for snake bite victims. Patients are given IV fluids and their vital signs are monitored while being transported to a hospital.

Captain Skaggs said that having any kind of treatment that would delay snake bite effects would be invaluable to patients.

The cost of one of these treatments is not yet known. Dr. Nielsen expects that the cost would be similar to EpiPens that are available now.

He expects it will take about another five years of testing to get FDA approval to go to market. 

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