It is estimated that nearly 2500 people die of snakebites in Pakistan every year . The total number of snakebites reported per year is about 50,000. By some studies this number grossly underestimates the total number of snakebites in the country by a factor of 4. Not all snakebites are venomous. In interior Sindh, Baluchistan and many rural areas, snakebites are endemic. Cobra and 3 spices of viper are considered the dominant poisonous snakes in Pakistan causing hemorrhage and neurotoxicity resulting in death and morbidity.
Pakistan currently produces only 6% of its anti venom sera needs. Rest of it is imported. Anti venom serum produced from non-native snakes is non-specific and large quantities need to be given to counter the affect of venom. Pakistan is in a dire need for both expanded production of anti snake venom anti sera and new research needs to be developed to enhance specificity of its anti venom products.
National University of Medical Sciences is partnering with Oxford University in the areas of anti venom antisera against snakes that are indigenous to Pakistan by studying venom regional variations, develop clinical programs in endemic areas of snake bites to educate the population and develop treatment protocols. We are in the process of developing partnership with an Australian group that leads in venom research and development. Clinical trials on anti venom antisera have never been done in Pakistan and our goal is to do the first of its kind trials in Pakistan. Large number of our animals are bitten by snakes and large quantities of anti venom anti sera are required for their treatment.
Our ultimate goal is to produce anti venom anti sera of high potency that covers all snake species in Pakistan and meet the country's needs for anti venoms.