Compound from fruits, vegetables neutralizes pit viper venom

SAO PAULO (Reuters) — A substance found in fruits and vegetables can neutralize the venom of a poisonous pit viper common in much of South America, Brazilian researchers have discovered.

In Brazil, the Bothrops jararaca, also called “yarara,” is responsible for most of the country’s roughly 26,000 recorded snake bites each year, according to the online Reptile Database.

The study, conducted by Sao Paulo’s Butantan Institute and published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, found that a modified version of the compound rutin, the water soluble succinyl rutin, can delay the effect of a poisonous bite.

The finding could complement standard treatment with anti-bothropic serum, offering an emergency fix for those bitten in remote locations where immediate access to medical services is impossible.

Marcelo Santoro, who coordinated the research, said the serum treats the main effects of the snakebite.

“In this sense, rutin would serve as an adjuvant: not to replace the serum, but to delay the effects of poisoning, controlling bleeding and inflammation,” he said.