October 22, 2007

Toxin Center at A&M Develops Coral Snake Antivenin

In October 2008, the U.S. plans to stop production of its only coral snake antivenin. But Texas A&M University-Kingsville's Natural Toxins Research Center might have found a replacement, according to a news release from the center.

The potential replacement is a Mexican-based product called Coralmyn, which, according to the news release, is even better than the existing product.

Coralmyn is effective at neutralizing the effects of both the Eastern coral snake and the Texas coral snake, whereas the current antivenin used in the U.S. is only good at treating the Eastern Coral Snake.

This study may be irrelevant to Victoria where most of the snake bites treated are with pit viper antivenin, said Dr. Clyde Walrod, an ER doctor with Citizens Medical Center for the past 14 years.

"Coral snake antivenin is a specific antivenin and, quite honestly, in the time I've been here we have never used it," he said.

The most common poisonous snakebite in this area is from the copperhead, Walrod said. "We also have water moccasins and rattlesnakes in the area. We do see snakebites from those several times a year."

Texas A&M is reviewing the results of its study during an international toxins conference, which ends Thursday in Juriquilla, Queretaro, Mexico.

The medicine would have to be approved by the FDA before it is used in this country.