Puff adder
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Deadly snakes aid medical research

Researchers at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have embarked on a project to develop an anti-venom treatment against the bite of every dangerous snake in sub-Saharan Africa.

Snake bites kill at least 30,000 people per year in the region, and leave far more with severe disabilities,.

But to create the anti-venom, the team has to "milk" venom from every one of more than 400 venomous snakes in their laboratory.

Here, the lead scientist on this Medical Research Council funded project, Dr Robert Harrison, explains how the extraction of venom from some of Africa's most deadly reptiles could save thousands of lives.

Video journalists: Victoria Gill and Stephen Fildes

Still images courtesy of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)

  • 09 Jan 2015
Go to next video: Mystery disease ties snakes in knots