Two doctors from rural Maharashtra have developed a method to improve the effectiveness of the antidote to scorpion poison.
General surgeons, Dr Vivek Natu and Dr Santosh Kamerkar, have drawn up a clinical scoring system that determines the dosage of the Anti-Scorpion Venom Serum that should be administered to a scorpion bite patient depending on the amount of poison in the patient's blood stream.
Their research paper was published in Journal of Postgraduate Medicine in September.
The serum, manufactured by the Parel-based Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, is derived from horse blood and was introduced in 1997.
Dr Kamerkar, who works in Raigad district, started working on improving the effectiveness of the serum when he was unable to save several people bitten by scorpions. The death rate was almost 10%.
"After I saw four children dying due to scorpion poison, I was completely moved me. I stopped treating them till 2005," he said.
Dr Kamerkar collaborated with Dr Natu, who works in Ratnagiri.
Clinical scoring system developed by them comprises a chart, which grades the patient's condition. The quantity of antidote injected into the patient's blood stream depends on the grade the patient falls in.
Trials conducted by them between September 2006 and December 2007 showed the serum acts quickly and effectively on serious patients. They also found that the serum was more effective than the treatment drug Prazosin.