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U.S. troops look to Iran to aid in snake bites

HOTtopic041212_optBY REBECCA SHEEHAN
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
International relations between the United States and Iran have been difficult, to say the least. Despite our diligent sanctions obligatory to completely cripple Iran's economy, the Defense Department will do all that it can to protect American soldiers at all costs – even if it means getting medical help from its Islamic adversary.

Afghanistan is riddled by some of the world’s most poisonous snakes. If a solider is bitten, our country’s antivenins, made from domestic species, are toothless against the venom.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, since January 2011 the United States has purchased 115 vials of the antivenin at $310 each. The antivenin produced in Iran at the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, according to an official, "should be the first line of antivenin therapy" against Afghan snakes. Razi, which has ties to the World Health Organization (WHO), .makes the antivenin by injecting small amounts of snake poison into horses, which then produce antibodies against it.

"We make this to save lives, and it doesn't matter if the person is Iranian or Afghan or American," said Hadi Zareh, lead Razi researcher in the antivenin department to the Wall Street Journal. "We are happy to hear we have saved a person's life, even an American soldier."

 
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