By Naila Huseynli
Caucasus most widely spread species of poisonous viper may bring economic benefits to Azerbaijan. The country, which once produced the largest amount of snake venom of Levantine viper in the Soviet Union, can redevelop venom production capacity.
Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) has started negotiations on sale of snake venom.
In this regard, Elman Yusifov, Director of the Institute of Zoology of ANAS stated that currently negotiations on the export of the viper poison inherited from Soviet era continue with the Turkey’s Marmara Trade.
“At present, we are at the stage of correspondence. They applied for the purchase of a part of the Soviet-era poison. Part of that poison will be tested by them in an international laboratory. After receiving accurate information about the suitability of the poison the second stage will start,” Yusifov said.
He also added that about 20 kg of snake venom have been inherited during the Soviet era, adding that the Marmara Trade intends to buy 8-10 kg of this poison.
Yusifov said that the price of 1 gram of snake poison varies from $100 to $500 in the world market.
“It should be considered that poison in Azerbaijan is not a new product. Although Soviet-era poison is preserved in optimal condition, in vacuum ampoules, toxicity and other indicators may change in their composition. This may have a certain impact on the purchase price of the poison,” he explained.
The director of the institute also stated that if the export proceeds as a result of the negotiations with the Turkish company, then Institute of Zoology will raise the issue of restoration of production of snake venom in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences and Presidium of ANAS.
The snake poison was produced in Azerbaijan in the Soviet era and the strongest production center was in the country, Yusifov reminded. During that time, 5-10 kilograms of poison were produced and sold abroad.
After the collapse of Soviet Union, relations were interrupted with the buyers of Azerbaijan due to new cooperation with Iran, Afghanistan and other countries.
Snake venom could be a remedy to many diseases, particularly neuralgia, arthralgia, myalgia, myositis, rheumatism, hypertension, and asthma. Snake venom in very small quantities is frequently used for medical purposes as an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory remedy.
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