from This is London

      Protherics rattles up a snakebite success in US

Monday, September 25, 2000


Horse serum, the old timers' cure for rattlesnake bites in the Wild West, is set to disappear thanks to an anti-venom treatment developed by British biotech group Protherics.

CroFab, which today gained marketing approval from the US Food & Drug Administration, is painless and swift, without the nauseous side-effects of the old Indian rem-edy.

Protherics' factory in Llandysul, South Wales, will produce CroFab for marketing and distribution by Savage Laboratories, a division of Altana of New York.

Some 40,000 people a year are bitten by rattlesnakes. In some parts of America this summer, there have been shortages of traditional anti-venom because increasing contact between human and snake has resulted in more need for the antidote.

Human-snake contact is on the rise because more Americans are indulging in hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. The encroachment of suburbs into previous wilderness areas has also boosted man's exposure to rattlers, as has the virtual disappearance of the snakes' natural enemies, including large cats and wolves.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 04 October 2000

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