Sri Lanka does not produce antivenom so far in respect of three out of seven deadly serpents found in Sri Lanka, Senior Prof. Jayantha Rajapaksa of the Veterinary Faculty of the Peradeniya University said.
Prof. Jayantha Rajapaksa
Cobra, Common Krait (Karawala), Sri Lanka Krait (Mudu Karawala), Russell Viper (Tith Polaga), Saw Scale Viper (Weli Polaga), Hump Nose Viper (Polon Theissa), and Green Pit Viper (Pala Polaga) are the seven deadly snakes found in Sri Lanka.
Of them, antivenom was produced in respect of the Hump Nose Viper, Sri Lanka Krait and the Green Pit Viper, he said. Prof. Rajapaksa said antivenom needed to treat snake bite victims is imported from India and that country does not produce antivenom in respect of the three snakes. India produced antivenom in respect of the other four species found there country but it does not suit in respect of some species found in Sri Lanka. This is because the strength of snake venom varied from region to region and country to country.
Therefore, attention had been drawn towards producing antivenom typical to serpent species found in the country. A programme was launched to catch deadly serpent species from various parts of the country and extract their venom to produce antivenom suitable for the three serpents.
Since the antivenom production in Sri Lanka is extremely costly, the venom extracted from Sri Lanka's serpent species would be dried and sent to India to get the antivenom produced there at cheaper rates for hospitals in Sri Lanka.
Prof. Rajapaksa said the Science and Technology Ministry had extended its co-operation for this programme conducted with the approval of the Department of Wildlife.