July 9, 2010

We're running out of antivenom for snakebites. Awesome.

I don't like snakes, in fact, I think we could do without snakes. Really, why cant snakes be a desired food and near extinction instead of like tuna? Then I wouldn't have to worry about the damn things. Now bad news, the US is running out of corral snake anti-venom.

Unfortunately, after Oct. 31 of this year, there may be no commercially available antivenom (antivenin) left. That's the expiration date on existing vials of Micrurus fulvius, the only antivenom approved by the Food and Drug Administration for coral snake bites. Produced by Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer, the antivenom was approved for sale in 1967, in a time of less stringent regulation.

Wyeth kept up production of coral snake antivenom for almost 40 years. But given the rarity of coral snake bites, it was hardly a profit center, and the company shut down the factory that made the antivenom in 2003. Wyeth worked with the FDA to produce a five-year supply of the medicine to provide a stopgap while other options were pursued. After that period, the FDA extended the expiration date on existing stock from 2008 to 2009, and then again from 2009 to 2010. But as of press time, no new manufacturer has stepped forward. 

While these snakes aren't anywhere near Montana, this still bugs me. What if we run out of rattlesnake venom. I'm so screwed.

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