SA not affected by shortage of leading anti-venom, says herpetologist

South Africans are not under any increased threat, despite a shortage of anti-venom for some of the continent's deadliest snakebites.

This is according to, expert herpetologist and CEO of the African Snakebite Institute, Johan Marais.

The antidote, known as FAV-Afrique, has been widely used by medical practitioners in Sub-Saharan Africa to treat snakebite victims.

However, Marais explains that South Africa relies on its own kind of anti-venom which is produced specifically for our most poisonous snakes such as the Boomslang.

We have the South African vaccine producer that make an effective anti-venom, and that's largely what is used in the country.

Johan Marais, CEO of the African Snakebite Institute

In other cases, a blended poly-venom is used to treat bites from any other deadly snakes.

He explains that the discontinued FAV-Afrique product was largely suited for West African countries and other parts of the continent with more deadly cases.

According to Marais, anti-venom is an urgent need in North Africa where snake bite deaths are more prevalent and vaccines more expensive.

Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

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