New Anti-Venom Drug by KVOA News

TUCSON – Arizona sees hundreds of rattlesnake bites every year. With the weather heating up snakes will soon be out on the trails and may be near your home. If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, it could be deadly. A new anti-venom drug here in Tucson is working to prevent that.

The new anti-venom drug Anavip hit the market this year. Tucson Medical Center is now carrying it to treat snakebite patients.

“It’s made from different snakes than the current anti-venom,” Steve Dudley Interim Director Arizona Poison and Drug Information said, “It’s a larger molecule so. Theoretically, it should stay in the system longer to prevent delayed effects.”

He says most of Arizona sees around 200 snakebites a year.

Mark Hammond has contributed to that number. He has been bitten by a rattlesnake twice in the past 40 years of his career.

“I was able to get on a gurney and get to Banner Hospital within 20 minutes and then started anti-venom within 15 minutes,” Hammond co-owner of Animal Experts said.

He says getting bit feels like a third-degree burn and then jamming your hand into a car door. The price tag for the treatment can also sting.

“People don’t believe me when I told them that our bill came out to $313,000 for the snake bite. Probably close to $100,000 of it was anti-venom,” Hammond said.

Just last week the new anti-venom drug was used to treat a patient in Phoenix.

“If you stomp your feet, that rattlesnake is going to feel that vibration. Even if it is like 60 feet away, he is going to start rattling,” Hammond said, “That rattle right there is saying I’m here I don’t want to bite you. The reason why they don’t want to bite you is. They need that venom to actually kill their prey, and that venom also digests their pray.”