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How Horses Save Humans From Snakebites


This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via https://brilliant.org/veritasium get 20% off a yearly subscription. To make antivenom, you first need to collect venom from the world’s most deadly snakes.

Huge thanks to the Australian Reptile Park for having us over to film – special thanks to Zac Bower for milking all of these snakes for us and Caitlin Vine for organizing the shoot. Absolute legends. https://www.reptilepark.com.au

Huge thanks to Dr Timothy Jackson from the Australian Venom Research Unit for answering our questions, and fact checking the script. This video would not have been the same without you.

Thanks to Seqirus Australia for providing Broll footage of the horses and the antivenom production.

Calmette, A. (1896). Le venin des serpents: Physiologie de l'envenimation, traitement des morsures venimeuses par le sérum des animaux vaccinés. Paris: Société d'éditions scientifiques.

Broad, A. J., Sutherland, S. K., & Coulter, A. R. (1979). The lethality in mice of dangerous Australian and other snake venom. Toxicon, 17(6), 661664. – https://ve42.co/Broad79

WHO Expert Committee on Biological Standardization. (2016). WHO guidelines for the production, control and regulation of snake antivenom immunoglobulins. Geneve, Switzerland. – https://ve42.co/WHO2016

Calmette, A. (1896). The treatment of animals poisoned with snake venom by the injection of antivenomous serum. British medical journal, 2(1859), 399. – https://ve42.co/Calmette1896

Hawgood, B. J. (1999). Doctor Albert Calmette 1863–1933: founder of antivenomous serotherapy and of antituberculous BCG vaccination. Toxicon, 37(9), 12411258. – https://ve42.co/Hawgood99

Pucca, M. B., Cerni, F. A., Janke, R., BermúdezMéndez, E., Ledsgaard, L., Barbosa, J. E., & Laustsen, A. H. (2019). History of envenoming therapy and current perspectives. Frontiers in immunology, 1598. – https://ve42.co/Pucca19

Kang, T. S., Georgieva, D., Genov, N., Murakami, M. T., Sinha, M., Kumar, R. P., ... & Kini, R. M. (2011). Enzymatic toxins from snake venom: structural characterization and mechanism of catalysis. The FEBS journal, 278(23), 45444576. – https://ve42.co/Kang2011

Hawgood, B. J. (2007). Albert Calmette (1863–1933) and Camille Guerin (1872–1961): the C and G of BCG vaccine. Journal of medical biography, 15(3), 139146. – https://ve42.co/Hawgood2007

Vonk, F. J., Admiraal, J. F., Jackson, K., Reshef, R., de Bakker, M. A., Vanderschoot, K., ... & Richardson, M. K. (2008). Evolutionary origin and development of snake fangs. Nature, 454(7204), 630633. – https://ve42.co/vonk2008

Bochner, R. (2016). Paths to the discovery of antivenom serotherapy in France. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, 22. – https://ve42.co/Bochner2016

Young, B. A., Herzog, F., Friedel, P., Rammensee, S., Bausch, A., & van Hemmen, J. L. (2011). Tears of venom: hydrodynamics of reptilian envenomation. Physical review letters, 106(19), 198103. – https://ve42.co/Young2011

Madras Medical Journal, Volume Second, JulyDecember 1870. Page 355

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Written by Petr Lebedev and Derek Muller
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Filmed by Jason Tran and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Fabio Albertelli, Jakub Misiek, Ivy Tello and Mike Radjabov.
Molecule animation by Reciprocal Space – https://www.reciprocal.space
Additional video/photos supplied by Getty Image
Broll supplied by Seqirus Australia
Music from Epidemic Sound and Jonny Hyman
Thumbnail by Ignat Berbeci
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang

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