Mexico To The Rescue In America’s ‘Venom Belt’ (via NPR Health)
August 9, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Toxicologists refer to the American Southwest as the “Venom Belt” for its many venomous spiders, snakes and scorpions. In fact, doctors estimate there are about 250 severe scorpion stings a year in this country.
Most of those stung are children in Arizona, but the U.S. ran out of its own supply of scorpion antivenom nearly a decade ago. Mexican doctors, however, have been treating stings from venomous creatures for years, and what they’ve learned may now save American lives.
Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug made in Mexico for use in the U.S. to treat severe scorpion stings. It’s called Anascorp and was developed by a company called Instituto Bioclon.
The Scorpion Sting Experts
“Without antivenom, if you’ve got that bad of a sting, you accept intensive care or you risk death,” says Dr. Leslie Boyer, a pediatrician who directs a venom research center in Tucson.
That was until Boyer took a trip south of the border and discovered that Mexico has a far bigger scorpion problem.
In Mexico, a quarter of a million people are stung by scorpions each year. Some clinics in central Mexico can have dozens of scorpion sting patients per night in the summer.
“Mexico has been in the antivenom field for many years, and over many years we have accumulated a big experience on how to make good antivenoms,” says Dr. Alejandro Alagon, a professor of biochemistry at Mexico’s Autonomous National University.
Alagon says 20 years ago hundreds of people in Mexico would die each year from scorpion stings. Alagon is also an adviser to the Mexican drug company that makes the antivenom, which is effective against the same species of scorpion that exists in Arizona. … Read More
Via NPR Health