Nigeria can adequately produce anti snake venom, says Abdulsalami

snakesNIGERIA has said it can adequately produce the snake anti -venom when their present manufacturer, Wyeth now owned by Pfizer ceases to do so come October 31 this year.

Nigeria says it has the capacity and expertise to do so as it was able to battle the deadly Ebola virus to stand still, and also has an understanding with United Kingdom (UK) to start production once the approval is made.

Wyeth had last week announced that, after October 31 of this year, there may be no commercially available antivenom (antivenin) left. That is the expiration date on existing vials of Micrurus fulvius, the only antivenom approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for coral snake bites.

The antivenom was approved for sale in 1967, in a time of less stringent regulation.

But the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (CDC), Prof. Nasidi Abdulsalami, however, said that the country has the skills and the capabilities to produce the snake anti-venom and bridge the gap which will soon be noticed after October 31 if the federal government is ready to invest in its production.

Abdulsalami aid that the anti-snake venom presently is produced by Echi TAB in collaboration with United Kingdom and Costa Rica but that it was championed by Echi TAB and the Nigerian study group.

However, a whopping $3million to $5million is needed to undertake the needed studies needed to get it approved by Food and Drug Administration.

According to him there is really no need for the world to experience any panic as Nigeria/UK will rise to the challenge and fill the gap created by the suspension of the anti-snake venom by Wyeth if only great investments are made to have it approved by the Food and Drug Association.

Experts express exasperation and disbelief at the situation. “It’s ridiculous that we’re losing a technology that we already have,” says Joe Pittman, a snakebite treatment specialist at the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa.

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