Doctor's research could buy time for snake bite victims

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - A researcher at the University of Arizona is experimenting with a new therapy to help treat rattlesnake bites.

The Arizona Daily Star reports Dr. Vance G. Nielsen hopes once ready for humans, the therapy will be administered like an EpiPen, injected into a snakebite victim in the field to buy them valuable time to get to the hospital for anti-venom treatments.

Nielsen, an anesthesiologist at the university, says generally, venom is harmful to the nervous system and can also interfere with the normal function of blood.

In the case of blood, snake venom will either cause clotting, called coagulation, which can lead to heart attack or stroke; or it can inhibit clotting, anti-coagulation, causing excessive bleeding.

The therapy includes injecting carbon monoxide into the venom directly to block its effects.

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