5-speed listening (Snakebite - Level 2)

Scientists hope to find cure for snakebites






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Scientists hope to find a cure for snakebite. Experts on snakebites in India, Africa, the UK and the USA are working on a cure. They are using the same technology used to discover HIV anti-bodies. The scientists are trying to use human anti-bodies to fight against snake venom. Snakebite is currently treated using anti-venom made from the snake's venom. Tropical medicine expert Professor Robert Harrison said: "We're pursuing what we call the 'next generation' of snakebite therapies, which we hope will be able to treat bites from any snake."

Snakebites kill up to 140,000 people a year. They kill more people than infectious diseases like rabies. A further 400,000 people suffer life-changing injuries after snakebites. These include amputations and psychological trauma. There are about 250 types of snake worldwide with harmful venom. Every venom is very different. This makes finding anti-venoms challenging for scientists. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said snakebite was, "the biggest public health crisis you have likely never heard of". People who get the right anti-venom have a high chance of survival.

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