Shehla Sherin death fallout: New strip to identify snake venom, treatment set for a change

By spilling a drop of blood or any fluid that oozes from the bite wound on to the strip, one can identify the snake.

Published: 25th November 2019 03:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th November 2019 09:01 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes.

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: WHEN it comes to snakebite cases, identifying the snake is crucial. But it could not be done in most cases due to varying reasons, thus causing a delay in administering anti-venom medicine just as in the case of Class V student Shehla Sherin’s death in Wayanad last week. 

The invention of a new strip looks to bring in a revolutionary change.

By spilling a drop of blood or any fluid that oozes from the bite wound on to the strip, one can identify the snake.

“The invention could lead to a paradigm shift from the existing polyvalent anti-venom (that neutralises the venom of several different species of snakes) to monovalent anti-venom (that neutralises the venom of one species of snake),” said an officer with the Thiruvanthapuram-based Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), which de 

To confirm a snakebite, doctors often wait for symptoms like dizziness, nausea, blurred vision or imbalance for neurotoxins (destructive to neuro system) and anticoagulation of blood for haemotoxins (destroying red blood cells). 

This approach involves heavy risk and the delay in identification leads to complications and even death.

“The current approach of using polyvalent anti-venom — effective against cobra, krait, Russell’s viper and saw-scaled viper venom — has its problems. The patients administered with it often suffer from mild to severe adverse reactions. 

Monovalent method based on the identification of species using a kit is the solution,” said the officer. 

RGCB’s Dr R Radhakrishnan, who led the research on developing the strip, said, “The strip could be used by anyone. It’ll have five lines, one for venoms control and the remaining for cobra, krait, Russell’s viper and saw-scaled viper. The result will be visible in a minimum of two minutes and a maximum of eight.”

According to him, the Snake Venom Detection Lateral Flow Assay Kit was a three-year project funded by the Department of Science and Technology.

“The validation process of the strip has been completed.  

“It’ll be dedicated to the nation by Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan most probably by next month. 

“The kit will cost Rs 50, but when produced in large numbers, the price might come down,” added Dr Radhakrishnan.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp