Muscat, Dec 24 – Scientists at the University of Nizwa are in an advanced stage of developing an anti-venom for snake bites, Dr Suleiman al Hashmi, Head of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Laboratories, has said. The lab is part of the Research Centre for Chemistry and Medical & Life Sciences, which is affiliated to the Department of Animal Science Resources at the university.
Dr Al Hashmi told the Observer that his team had been working on the project for months now, identifying poisonous/ non-poisonous snakes, local types and others, besides the components of poison itself.
“The department has collected more than 10 types of snakes from different places in Oman.
Studies were carried out to identify their biological and behavioural characteristics,” he said. Dr Al Hashmi said the team was collaborating with Irani experts, and a number of poison samples have been sent to Iran for analysis.
Venoms are currently sourced from India and Saudi Arabia and they are not intended for treating snake bite victims, he said.
“By analysing components of the poison, we aim to produce anti-serum that can provide a cure for poisonous bites as well as other diseases. We are looking at making an accurate poison classification.”
While snakes are one of the most feared species, the bites from only per cent of them are toxic. Only 10 per cent of snake bites are life-threatening. Some kinds of snake venom affect the circulatory system, while some affect the muscle tissue. Some types of toxins attack the nervous system, according to studies.
Zainab al Nassri