ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
The world's stockpile of crucial treatment for poisonous snakebites will soon run out, according to the aid group Doctors Without Borders. NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff has more.
MICHAELEEN DOUCLEFF, BYLINE: The treatment is called Fav-Afrique, and it's only anti-venom approved to neutralize the bites of 10 deadly African snakes, like spitting cobras, carpet vipers, and black mambas. Dr. Gabriel Alcoba of Doctors Without Borders says he's watched Fav-Afrique save many lives in Africa.
GABRIEL ALCOBA: I saw a small child who had been bitten on the face. His whole face had swollen. He could practically not breathe, and you could not see his eyes.
DOUCLEFF: Then the child got Fav-Afrique.
ALCOBA: It was resolved in two days, and the child could go home.
DOUCLEFF: Fav-Afrique is produced by just one company, Sanofi Pasteur in France. The company stopped production last year, and now the world's last batch of Fav-Afrique is set to expire next summer. Alcoba says deaths and amputations from snakebites are certain to dramatically rise.
ALCOBA: I think it's really a health crisis. I mean, we're speaking about more than 30,000 deaths a year. This is an epidemic. This is comparable with many other diseases.
DOUCLEFF: Alcoba says governments and the World Health Organization need to step up to the plate to find another manufacturer. Gregory Hartl is a spokesperson for WHO. He says for them, it's a big concern. But the agency only has one person working on snakebites.
GREGORY HARTL: We have been unable to get donor support to do more in this area.
DOUCLEFF: Supplies of the anti-venom in the U.S. and other countries are not affected by this impending shortage. Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR News.
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