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Stung by a Scorpion? Mexico Will Save You

Despite 250 stings a year, US drug companies won't make anti-venom
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2011 6:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the United States having run out of scorpion anti-venom nearly 10 years ago, the FDA has just approved a Mexican-made treatment for scorpion stings, reports NPR. Although there are about 250 severe scorpion stings a year in the United States—mainly in the "Venom Belt" in the southwest—US drug companies don't consider anti-venom profitable enough to develop. But Mexico, with a quarter of a million scorpion stings a year, has the demand to make anti-venom cost-effective.

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"Mexico has been in the anti-venom field for many years, and over many years we have accumulated a big experience on how to make good anti-venoms," said a Mexican biochemist. Because of that need, Mexico has developed an effective scorpion anti-venom, called Anascorp. Trials of Anascorp began in 2004, and the drug was finally approved last week. However, the United States still has shortages of anti-venom for snakes, spiders, and other venomous critters. (Read more scorpion stories.)

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