Saving Lives with Snake Venom

Every year hundreds of thousands of people are dying from snakebites and there’s a global shortage of the one thing that could save them – anti-venom. While a single snakebite can turn most people into a corpse in less than 30 minutes, Steve Ludwin can survive due to 30 years of injecting snake venom. His blood now, partly immune to venom, could be used to solve this crisis.

For close to 100 years, anti-venom production has been a laborious process of snake-milking and horse blood harvesting, but scientists in Copenhagen are now using Steve’s blood to create a synthetic anti-venom. No longer containing horse antibodies which can cause the loss of limbs, this human anti-venom could be mass-produced and distributed around the world.

In this episode Steve travels to Costa Rica to encounter the dangerous snakes that make every day dangerous for the locals, experiences first hand how anti-venom is currently produced and visits a hospital to discover how bites are treated. With research into his blood progressing at an exciting pace, will Steve be the anti-venom messiah?

Category: Nature

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