Man who legally died from deadly cobra bites is creating universal anti-venom

A man who was pronounced clinically dead after two cobra bites is dedicating his life to creating the first universal anti-venom.

For most people, the thought of getting bitten by a deadly snake would send them into a cold sweat, but for Tim Friede that experience sent him into a career of snake bites all in the name of science.

The 53-year-old former truck mechanic from Wisconsin, US was subjected to an almost life-ending series of bites from two venomous cobras in 2001 and it left him clinically dead.

He recalled : “Two cobra bites, back to back, within one hour.

“I basically flat-lined and died – it wasn’t fun.

“I had enough immunity for one bite, but not for two – I completely screwed up.”

The attack occurred while he was milking his pet Egyptian cobra, which ended up biting his finger, and one hour later another cobra pet did the same thing in his right bicep.

The experience didn't deter him from maintaining his hands-on lifestyle with reptiles, and he is now the director of herpetology at Californian vaccination research company Centivax.

Through his work, Tim has now been willingly bitten by venomous snakes more than 200 times – usually on his right bicep – as he attempts to find a universal anti-venom to cure all snake bites.

“Almost every bite is painful,” he explained to National Geographic.

“Like a bee sting times a hundred.”

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According to a 2020 study from a group of universities, including the University of Oxford, India had around 1.2 million snake bite deaths between 2000 and 2019, averaging around 58,000 per year.

The report also shows that around a quarter of those deaths occur in children under the age of 15.

It adds: “The risk of an Indian dying from snakebite before age 70 is about 1 in 250, but notably higher in some areas.

“More crudely, we estimate 1.11–1.77 million bites in 2015, of which 70% showed symptoms of envenomation.

“Prevention and treatment strategies might substantially reduce snakebite mortality in India.”

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And because of these statistics, Tim says it is why his work is vital.

He explained: “Hospitals may be far away from the victim.

“But each village will have a medical clinic, often just a room in the front of someone’s house.

“If someone gets bit, you’d have a runner run out and administer the anti-venom.”

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