Antisnake Venom Production Crisis—Who Told Us It Was Uneconomic and Unsustainable?The world of antisnake venom production is currently a gloomy place to visit. It is described as being in crisis, characterized by shortages, producers leaving the market, high prices, and unsustainability. It has been reduced to a pauper-like status, doomed to relying on chari\ handouts for resolution. The worrying aspect of this is that little work has been done to establish the true economics and return on antisnake venom if provided by private companies. Fortunately, it is amenable to economic analysis, and in this manner, a rational approach to further development and distribution can be obtained.
The Global Snakebite Crisis—A Public Health Issue Misunderstood, Not NeglectedThe global problem of venomous snakebite continues to attract attention despite it being described as a “neglected” issue. The current focus of the World Health Organization (WHO) remains anti– snake venom quality, although “availability and sustainability” of supply are consistently described as the key issues. Sustainability of antivenom supply has been elusive, with cost and pricing in developing countries being cited as the major reasons. The current WHO approach fails to explore the cost issue, but rather focuses on quality improvements, which may well adversely affect the costs of a product already perceived to be ‘unaffordable.’ The reference to cost and price indicates a marketing-based perspective may well give more relevant solutions to the snakebite crisis.
Time for an Alternative Perspective: The Eternal Problem of Supply and Quality of Anti Snake Venom in the Developing World—“It's the Economy, Stupid”The “crisis in anti snake venom supply” has been an enduring problem. Despite the frequency with which it appears in the literature, it remains unquantified and an enigma. If there is a serious shortage of anti snake venom (ASV), why has this not been resolved? Anti snake venoms are produced, and yet many suppliers are described as leaving the market. There appears to be a problem in the call for highly effective, high-quality, and cheap anti venoms that contributes to this result of suppliers leaving the market.
The “Worldwide Shortage” of Antisnake Venom: Is the Only Right Answer “Produce More” Or Is It Also “Use It Smarter?”A frequent tenet of snakebite literature is what has been described as the “worldwide shortage of antisnake venom” (ASV) and the demand for greater production. Antisnake venom is the mainstay of snakebite management, and thus this principle of “shortage” can impact the view of policy makers when it comes to framing solutions to the problem. This paper presents a model to enable policy makers to assess the amount and utilization of ASV in their areas. The model assesses ASV usage according to 2 criteria: risk and wastage.
Venomous Snakebite in Mountainous Terrain: Prevention and ManagementThe prevention and management of venomous snakebite in the world's mountains present unique challenges. This paper presents a series of practical, clinically sound recommendations for management of venomous snakebite in a mountain environment. The authors performed an extensive review of current literature using search engines and manual searches. They then fused the abundant knowledge of snakebite with the realities of remote first aid and mountain rescue to develop recommendations. A summary is provided of the world's most troublesome mountain snakes and the mechanisms of toxicity from their bites.
Venomous Adversaries: A Reference to Snake Identification, Field Safety, and Bite-Victim First Aid for Disaster-Response Personnel Deploying Into the Hurricane-Prone Regions of North AmericaEach hurricane season, emergency-preparedness deployment teams including but not limited to the Office of Force Readiness and Deployment of the US Public Health Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Deployment Medical Assistance Teams, Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams, and the US Army and Air Force National Guard are at risk for deploying into hurricane-stricken areas that harbor indigenous hazards, including those posed by venomous snakes. North America is home to 2 distinct families of venomous snakes: 1) Viperidae, which includes the rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths; and 2) Elapidae, in which the only native species are the coral snakes.