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Dow University experts prepare anti-snake venom vaccine

KARACHI: A team of experts at Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) has prepared anti-snake venom (ASVs) vaccine, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

The experts have conducted successful tests of the anti-snake venom vaccine and applied for licence to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), officials said.

Approximately 40,000 snakebites are reported in Pakistan each year, which claim over 10,000 lives annually, putting the country among the top of the global snakebite mortality list along with fellow South Asian countries India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan imports 50,000 ASV vials each year, according to sources.

Most victims of snakebite in country succumb to the venom in the absence of proper treatment and severe shortage of anti-venom vaccines.

According to reports snake venom is responsible for claiming 81,000 to 138,000 lives globally every year.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) in August this year had ordered the  provincial health department to provide funds for completion of the Sakrand Laboratory of Anti Snake Venom and Anti Rabies Vaccine in Nawabshah.

Petitioner pleaded to the court that the lab was established over a decade ago, but it has still not produced the vaccines which are currently being provided by the National Institute of Health Sciences, Islamabad.

He cited the vast shortage of anti-snake venom (ASVs) and anti-rabies vaccines (ARVs) in public sector hospitals across the province to emphasize on the need of establishing a production lab of these vaccines in Sindh.

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