When was the red-back spider anti-venom discovered?

The red-back spider anti-venom was discovered in 1956. Since the development of the anti-venom for red-back spiders, latrodectus hasselti, there have virtually been no confirmed deaths from red-back bites. If you are bitten by a red-back spider, serious illness does not develop for at least three hours after the bite, giving you enough time to get to a doctor or hospital. Red-back spider bites cause intense local pain and localized sweating which may be followed by other symptoms including muscular weakness and spasm, loss of coordination, nausea and dizziness.

Compared with the placebo group, the antivenom had very little effect, but it caused allergic reactions in 4% of those receiving it (remember the risk of this comes from the fact that we’re using antibodies made by horses as the basis of the antivenom).

Based on this, Isbister says the treatment of redback spider bites should be re-evaluated. But other toxinologists quoted in the news reports highlighted that past studies have indicated the antivenom was effective.


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