Tribune News Service
Solan, April 30
With shortage of venom hitting the Kasauli-based Central Research Institute (CRI), the institute has been forced to scale down its production of various anti-sera.
This was despite the fact that the demand for anti-sera from several states such as Himachal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, among others, was constantly pouring in round the year.
Anti-sera are a biological product used in the treatment of venomous bites or stings.
It is created by milking venom from the snake. The venom is then diluted and injected into a horse, sheep, rabbit, or goat. The animal undergoes an immune response to the venom producing antibodies against the venom’s active molecule which can then be harvested from the animal’s blood and used to venomous bites.
Anti-venoms are supposed to conform to the standards laid by the World Health Organisation.
Though the institute was milking snakes in its own facility several years ago, the operation was later suspended owing to some in-house problems.
As against the usual demand of one lakh vials annually, the institute was able to produce nearly 43,000 vials in the last financial year though it targets to produce about 80,000 vials this year.
Sources in the institute said a Chennai-based supplier, Irula Co-operative Society, had been supplying venom to the institute since the past several years and several other suppliers had stopped its supply following strict guidelines laid down by the Animal Welfare Board for rearing snakes.
The presence of a single supplier was also creating other problems as the institute could not finalise a single tender for any commodity and in such an eventuality, the issue was referred to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
A lot of time is lost in barely finalising the supply order adding to the delay in manufacturing anti-sera, confided officials in the institute.
Institute’s Director Dr Sunil Gupta when quizzed said they were trying to locate more venom and horse sellers to ensure that they could produce adequate amount of anti-sera to meet the demand of various states.
The production of anti-sera was also hit with the lack of availability of horses and as against the requirements of 100 horses only 83 were available. With majority of them being aged, the institute was trying hard to find new stock.
Earlier, the institute was regularly getting horses discarded by the armed forces or the police and this helped them maintain a healthy stock.
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