Sultan Qaboos University received a new patent for the invention called "Method of Making an Ajwa Date-Based Treatment for Snake Envenomation" invented by Dr. Sidgi Syed Anwar Hassan and Prof. Ali Abdullah Hassan Al-Jabri from the College of Medicine & Health Sciences, Immunology division. The patent application for this invention was filed on 25/5/2017 and registered from the USPTO. The invention relates to treatments of snake envenomation, and particularly to a method of making an Ajwa date-based composition for the treatment of snake envenomation that uses an ethanolic extract of date fruits from the Ajwa date palm to treat local hemorrhage and edema induced by snake bite from venomous snakes.
Commenting on their work, Prof. Ali Al Jabri said that the invention was the results of more than ten years of continuous research work. “It relates to a novel treatment for snake envenomation, and particularly to a method of making an Ajwa date-based composition for the effective treatment of snake envenomation that uses an ethanolic extract of date fruit from the Ajwa date (Phoenix dactylifera L) palm to treat local hemorrhage and oedema induced by snake bites from venomous snakes”, he said. The importance of this invention is related to the fact that there are more than 5.5 million snakebites annually across the globe, which usually results in almost two millions envenoming of which more than 95,000 deaths.
Envenoming by snakes such as Echis ocellatus (E. ocellatus) and Naja naja nigricollis is responsible for several clinical complications of severe systemic and local pathology. For example, E. ocellatus leads to inflammation (such as swelling, blistering, and necrosis) and haemorrhages due to both metalloproteases and ecarin (an enzyme that activates prothrombin). On the other hand envenoming by Naja naja nigricollis induced clinical complications different from that caused by E. ocellatus. These include local necrosis, haemorrhage, complement depletion, and respiratory arrest or paralysis.
Prof. Al Jabri said that although great efforts have been dedicated to effective remedial and preventive methods, there is currently no adequate treatment for local haemorghe, oedema and necrosis caused by snake envenomation.
Intravenous administration of antivenom, prepared from antibodies (IgG) of venom-immunised horses or sheep, is an effective treatment for systemic envenoming. However, antivenom is of limited effectiveness against the effects of local haemorrhage and oedema that develop rapidly after a snakebite. Research to develop treatment for local haemorrhage, oedema and dermonecrosis is therefore of clinical priority and has focused on the application of natural or synthetic inhibitors of snake venom potent molecules.
The rational of the current invention was, therefore, to search for an agent that fulfill the drawbacks associated with the current antivenom. Luckily after a long period of investigations the inventors came up with an adequate and a novel method that results in the treatment of local hemorrhage caused by snake venoms and not only preventing death but also other clinical complications associated with snake envenomation. Hence, this invention may also be applicable against other venomous living creatures e.g. scorpions, sea snakes, poisonous frogs, spiders as well as others. “The end users of this invention can be tourists, soldiers, among others, who may be at risk of being exposed to poisonous creatures”, Prof Al Jabri said.